Ilsa- Tutti il Colori del Buio

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Friday, May 20, 2011

Washington D.C.’s Ilsa play some of the most crushing, in your face death/doom/crust tinged metal that I’ve heard in quite some time. The group’s only been around for about three years but has already put out their sophomore full length Tutti il Colori del Buio, which was released on vinyl last year and has recently gotten a CD release via Dark Descent Records. This is the type of album that immediately hits you with everything it has and doesn’t let up until it has come to an end, and while this may prove to be too much for some listeners but if you’re into the harsher side of the genre I think you’ll enjoy it.

As soon as you turn Tutti il Colori del Buio expect to be hit with a wall of sound, as the instrumentalists blast listeners with heavy riffs and drum beats on opener “Blood Ritual.” Listeners will notice that compared to many of the other groups out there, Ilsa has managed to make their material as noisy as possible without sacrificing individual riffs. What this means is that the group’s music doesn’t turn into an incomprehensible wall of sound despite how loud each song is, and quite a few people will be impressed with how the band is able to maintain their energy and intensity even as they bring the tempo down to a crawl. Admittedly by the time you have reached the end of the nine song album there have been a few fast paced riffs that sound similar to one another but this isn’t really that big of an issue and people that are into this style should be able to appreciate what the band brings to the table.

Ilsa’s vocalist Orion has a harsh mid-tempo scream that reminds me more of bands such as Trap Them rather than the death/doom that has inspired the instrumental arrangements. There are quite a few times where the vocals simply get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the instrumentals, but they always manage to resurface and become a more prominent element before the song has come to an end. Some people have complained about how the screaming is fairly one dimensional, and while it is true that Orion stays at around the same pitch for the entire album considering that it is only about 39 minutes long I never felt as though things were becoming too grating or repetitive.

As someone who listens to this type of music quite frequently, I definitely dig what Ilsa is doing on Tutti il Colori del Buio. This type of material isn’t for everyone and admittedly I would like to see the instrumentalists throw in just a bit more variation as they seem to be hinting that they are capable of it, but aside from that complaint this album has a lot of positive elements. Whether they become one of your favorites or not, this band seems to be on the right track and you can expect them to only continue gaining traction in the underground scene in the coming years.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Clawhammer PR

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