Thursday, 6 March 2014

Extreme Thursday: Izegrim

This week Extreme Thursday takes a stroll to the Netherlands to investigate long-standing death/trashers Izegrim. Playing a deeply political, thrashy take on melodic death metal, Izegrim have four studio albums under their belt and have just returned from a stint on 70,000 Tons Of Metal 2014.

 Featuring bassist and vocalist Marloes Voskuil on double duty, the band have been hard at work over the last few years, producing three of their albums since 2008. The most recent, Congress Of The Insane, came out six months ago in October 2013.

Seemingly always busy, the band has certainly built up a large following since joining their current label, Listenable Records, in 2009. No sooner have they landed from 70k Tons, they are already promoting the new tour.

But enough of what's going on; what do they sound like? The most recent album, Congress Of The Insane, is certainly the most polished album the band have ever produced. Featuring an impressive growl from Marloes, while remaining comprehensible enough to be able to sing along, the songs all feature the band's consistent anti-establishment politics.

Relic Of The Past, from Congress Of The Insane (2013) - official video

Prior to Congress Of The Insane, the band produced their first album with Marloes at the helm, Code Of Consequences. Marloes' prior duties in the band were backing vocal to the previous vocalist Kristien Dros who left after two albums in 2008. This is the first Izegrim album as a four-piece, their current lineup, with no dedicated vocalist or backing vocals, and the lineup that snagged the deal with Listenable Records. Released just two years before Code Of Congress, it was the start of Izegrim's growth outside of their home nation, taking the band international.

Final Farewell from Code Of Consequences (2011)

Before her departure, vocalist Kristien Dros recorded two albums with Izegrim. The last of these was 2008's Tribute To Totalitarianism. This album was their first with guitarist Bart van Ginkel, replacing Carsten van Heuvelen, who brought with him a distinctly melodic guitar style consistent with the band's enduring melodic death sound. The production of this new album resulted in a huge shift in the band's lineup, having just replaced their guitarist, by having drummer Joep van Leeuwen replaced with Ivo Maarhuis and, of course, vocal duties passing from the departing Kristien Dros to Marloes Voskuil.

Hail Victory, from Tribute To Totalitarianism (2008)

Izegrim's first album, before the tribulations of Tribute to Totalitarianism, was a much different affair. Featuring a less distinctly melodic death style, a more blackened vocal, and certainly a more thrash guitar style, it sounds (and, practically speaking, is) a different band. Of the lineup that brought the world Guidelines for Genocide, only guitarist Jeroen Wechgelaer remains. The band went threw a slew of guitarists and a keyboard player from its inception in 1997 and the release of Guidelines for Genocide in 2002.

Balance Of Terror, from Guidelines For Genocide (2002)

After this shaky start over fifteen years ago, Izegrim seem to have settled into a lineup and style that they seem happy to run with. Their most recent work plays on the cover art for Congress Of The Insane, with the "creepy clown" motif not so much creeping in during the night as much as leaping out scaring the crap out of you.

Izegrim's "creepy clown" motif. I do not like this. Not one bit.

I'm not a big fan of clowns, it has to be said. But what is extreme metal for if not pushing you outside your comfort zone? This album art certainly does that. I feel a shudder just looking at it.

Thanks to being involved with Listenable Records, Congress Of The Insane is available on Bandcamp for the first time. This means that no only is it easy to buy, but it's also easy to have a full listen to check out what the years of lineup changes, style shifts and touring have done for Izegrim.

Listenable Records Bandcamp