They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but in the case of Ilsa the cover of “Intoxicantations” tells a whole lot about what’s to come. A tiger with a tab of LSD on it’s tongue, a tangle of weeds, skulls, eyes, and centipedes, lines being cut, a free-based tooth. Horrific, intoxicant soaked doomed out death metal that’s equal parts brutal as it is mind-altering. Following up 2010’s excellent debut record, Tutti il Colori del Buio Ilsa return with another crusted out attack on sobriety. Intoxicantations is a lengthy record, over 10 tracks ranging from two minute bursts of rage to six plus minutes of punishing doom. The introduction sets the stage perfectly. Ominous, martial drumming with strangled ambiance merges with panicked descriptions of drug use and the occult, merging with the opening track “Foreign Lander”. Crusty riffing, d-beat drums, and Orion’s furious vocal delivery make up the backbone of this record. There is something particularly punishing about Ilsa’s brand of death/doom, and Intoxicantations dials it up a notch. The sludged out guitar and and abyssal drumming provide an oppressive, funereal atmosphere to this record.
The eponymous track, “Intoxicantations” is pure doom. Serving as a powerful contrast to the slowed down riffing, the drumming on this track, and record as a whole, is something to behold. Bursts of double bass drop in when necessary then dissipate into ethereal cymbal crashes, never overwhelming, but always there, pressing on your chest. Paeans to drugs and satan make up the core of this records lyrics. It’s wild, hallucinatory imagery that fits well with the death-tinged atmosphere. The next track, “Deadbeat’s Ballad” takes on a more traditional heavy metal tone, something that happens a few times on this record, invoking bands like Red Fang or Howl. Buried gang vocals are the first thing you’ll notice about this track. “Deadbeat’s Ballard” is high energy even when the listener is being buried under the massive riffing and wild drumming, ultimately leading to a massive conclusion.