This Finnish black metal one-man band released a demo in 2012, and now in 2013 Iapethos' debut full-length album saw the light of day.

Whereas the demo left an impression that it wasn't quite up to par with the artist's level of skill, this album sounds way more convincing. The music is still based on the same core of harsh and simplistic black metal with the coldness and mechanical rhythmics of industrial music, but the album has way more nuances and depth than the demo. The programmed drums sound as sharp, mechanical and lifeless as they should, and the artist made a right call in not even trying to hide their programmed nature. The guitar sounds equally lifeless with its very crude and distorted buzz, whereas the bass sounds vast and haunting. The vocals are monotonal and dry croaks, but have well enough emotion and character in them to be suitable and pleasing.

As said, the songs are based on fairly simple structures, and that topped with the industrial inflexibility means that you won't get too many surprises thrown at you. The soundscape is dominated by the spastic drumming and the bass-frequencies, whereas the guitar tends to be rather buried in the mix. Although a mixture like this might seem boring on paper, the album actually works really well; the vocals breathe enough life into the cold industrial atmospheres, and the occasional synth and even piano add a lot of depth and character to the soundscape when they're present. The electronic side doesn't try to add any likeable or techno/dance-elements, but instead sticks with the industrial/nightmare-sound to keep things simple and cohese. The artist has a good sense of style.

I was originally very fond of the album, but after a great number of spins the album's crude and bare nature starts to show its negative sides. There should be greater contrasts and bolder tempo- and atmospheric changes in the compositions, as now they occasionally succumb into a still pleasing but slightly faceless grey mass of sound. Aside of the too quiet guitar, the soundscape and musicianship are good; the simplisticity just would need a stronger drive and a more overwhelming aura to take over the listener. The nightmarish and satanic lyrics suit the atmospheres more than well, too - you just need to read them to know it, as the vocals don't really reveal their twisted feeling nor horror.

If you want black metal with a strong and serious industrial spirit, this one's certainly a good pick. I hope Iapethos keeps on working hard and improving his concept, as with his sense of style he could take it way further. There are vast realms of industrial music that he hasn't explored (nor benefited from) with his music, and I hope that in the future he'll utilize both the strings and machinery further.

7+ / 10