Album Review: Izthmi – The Arrow Of Our Ways 8.7 (Black Metal)

  • Izthmi
  • The Arrow Of Our Ways
  • Experimental Black Metal
  • Seattle, USA
  • February 14, 2020
  • 8.7/10

A wonderful black metal album that has both more harsh noise and melody than I was expecting, this is not a middling release – it has a pointed sentiment and strong structure. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times, guitar solos and sweet licks make black metal worth listening to. Even the tremolo picking here isn’t stale. The Arrows Of Our Ways is a very unique album and I’m not exactly sure what makes it so – perhaps the combination of mixing, vocals, concept and low af bass all make for the right cocktail. Izthmi have crafted an immersive record that releases via Within The Mind Records Feb 14th, 2020.

Artwork by Moonroot
Logo by The Art Of Artzy

I’ve basically fallen in love with every black metal album that features an acoustic, well without going all folksy which, in contrast, I almost never enjoy. Instead it’s performed in a classical gothic kind of way much like Winter Eternal or older melodic black metal like Agothadaemon. There’s a lot of class to the guitarwork on The Arrow Of Our Ways and I think the presence of keys has something to do with it too, emphasising the higher notes of overarching composition. This is one of those albums where it takes a few listens to really click and when it does it clicks harder than a metronome. AND IT’S A DEBUT ALBUM, WHAT.

Vocally it sounds like the band is fronted by a Drowner from The Witcher due to this creature like style that lacks resemblance to human vocal chords. It’s certainly not singular in it’s approach though as some high notes that resonate beautifully with the guitars will often catch you off guard. Even very modern guttural brutal death elements come and go.

The arrangements of the songs are inspiring in their sense of story. I just wish I could say the same for the interludes which take me away from the melodic black metal wizary I so crave, but even for these tracks I can still say it’s preferable to the typical intro/outro of black metal albums with bells or satanic samples. It’s simply a matter of musical preference when it comes to noise or ambient and they have their place within the themes of the record. They are executed with a cohesiveness that many bands lack when they enter a studio and add in obnoxious filler, this isn’t the case with Izthmi. The more I listen the more it makes sense as a chronological story and the more I appreciate it as a whole.

Izthmi: Bandcamp / Facebook

The album art is something else, the more I look at it the more I appreciate it, even down to the logo and it’s positioning on the cover. The only perceivable downfall of the album is that the intro might put off some people not used to the noise world of music, in this way it doesn’t communicate the vibe for the rest of the album appropriately, as a standalone track. I sincerely hope this does not put people off when they give it a go because it would be a shame for anyone to miss out on this magnificent creation. The final track titular track “The Arrow Of Our Ways” was legit SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE GOOSEBUMPS CHOKING BACK A TEAR level of impactful.

Get this fucking album, well when it comes out… you poor bastards will have to wait a while because of how keen I was to get this out there. It’s on Within The Mind Records who are also releasing the new Rat King album, which I also had the pleasure of hearing. It’s clear this label appreciates and nurtures creativity and experimentation so I strongly recommend supporting their artists and getting a CD when it comes out.

8.7/10

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