Originall written by Jordan Campbell
“The time [has] come to reclaim the old order that would set aside all other priorities to put an end to the horrible warmth of light and all of its sunburned followers…”
…such is the apparent mission of Istapp–destroyers of light, eliminators of the sun. According to their hilariously unreadable biography, this god-chosen trio is doing their doing their damnedest to bring the Earth back to its original state of being: “lifeless and desolate in the most frozen of ways.” Whether plying late 90’s melodic black metal is the most ideal way to “bring forth the Absolute Zero” is still up for debate, but at least we can have some peppy, riffy fun while Istapp hashes out the details.
(As an aside, it’s definitely refreshing for a band to put forth the complete package before presenting their wares, even if it’s just a mini-Immortal act. If I’m subjected to another half-assed promo photo comprised of four dudes in sad-face corpsepaint and sleeveless Taake shirts, I’m going to impale myself on a Striborg promo.)
While it’s admittedly a bit unfair of Metal Blade to release this thing in the United States in freaking June (its 82 degrees Fahrenheit, for fuckssakes), Istapp certainly succeeds in whipping up an adequate blizzard of winter worship. Grim and frostbitten, though, these men are not–this stuff is downright cheerful. While they may be another icicle hanging from the Dissection tree of meloblack, Istapp combine Hypocrisy-esque riffing with a fun-loving gallop akin to Equilibrium and their ilk. In conjunction with their absurd gimmick, these traits–as well as a machine-gunned, mush-mouthed Swedish vocal delivery–create a perfect storm of entry-level blackness. Blekinge should be extremely palatable for those primed to jump off the ham-fisted folkster wagon before the wheels fall off.
Songs like “I Väntan På Den Absoluta Nollpunkten” and the untitled ninth track carry a righteously infectious swagger that all walks will find difficult to resist, but let’s be honest: Blekinge isn’t exactly a trek through fresh snowfall. Istapp are running through accessi-black bootprints that have been well-stomped beforehand, but they’re doing it quite dexterously. They have a great gimmick, a great base, and an impressive skill set. And while they certainly don’t boast the filth required to complete their mission of blotting out the sun, they have enough riffs in their bag to trigger a few spontaneous snow angels. And lo, the mission continues…