Monday, May 23, 2011

Ilsa - Tutti Il Colori Del Buio

Tutti Il Colori Del Buio
Dark Descent Records

With a name that’s taken from of a series of cult underground sexploitation films (The most renown being 1974’s ‘Ilsa, She Wolf Of The SS’), a title that loosely translates to ‘All The Colours Of The Dark’ (And which was also the name of Sergio Martino’s film from 1972) and a cover that could easily be mistaken for a long lost film poster from legendary cult U.K. film studios Hammer Horror Productions, it doesn’t take much thought to surmise that Ilsa’s ‘Tutti Il Colori Del Buio’ is going to be one uneasy listen. And sure enough, that’s exactly what it is.
Originally released on C.D. in 2010 through the band’s own Odium Generis Humani label, and later re-released on limited edition vinyl (Limited to three hundred copies) on Contagion Releasing, ‘Tutti Il Colori Del Buio’ has once again resurfaced, this time being given the deluxe treatment on Dark Descent Records.
On Ilsa’s sophomore effort (Their debut album ‘The Maggots Are Hungry’ was released in 2009), the five piece act (Comprising of ex-Time Of The Wolf vocalist Orion, guitarists Brendan and Garrett, bassist Sharad and drummer Joshua Brettell) have well and truly achieved what they initially set out to do, and that is create a truly dark, suffocating and dense sound that’s equal parts doom metal, crushing death metal and crust/sludgecore noise.
The opening track ‘Blood Rituals’ is definitely a good indication of what you can expect from the band, with the song revealing strong doom metal influences within its slower and crushing riffs, but with a production that recalls the early days of death metal (Think of Sunlight Studios and their earlier and more influential offerings) and just enough sludge to keep the band’s overall sound just that much heavier than you would otherwise think possible. Another important aspect to the band’s sound is Orion’s ravaged screamed vocals, which only adds to the intense and huge sound from the band.
The fast paced and relentless D-beat drumming heard within the rather short ‘120 Days’ and ‘The Butcher’s Castle’ are early highlights on the album, and help liven up the first half of the album, while the incredibly thick and dense sounding ‘Frostthrower’ recalls Asphyx’s take on death metal.
Unfortunately, for all of the good things I have to say about Ilsa, there are also quite a few criticisms. And one of the biggest flaws this album has is its lack of variation. While it does have its moments, ‘Blue Moon Haze’ does drag on longer than it should do, while tracks such as ‘Traphouse’, ‘No-Man’s Land’ and ‘Roving Blade’ tend to get a little lost towards the end of the album due to their somewhat similar structures and same sound heard on the previous half of the album.
When it comes to creating a truly dark and alienating sound, Ilsa are masters. ‘Tutti Il Colori Del Buio’ is far from a comfortable listen, and will appeal to those with a genuine craving for something depraved and primitive. But for those looking for something a little more dynamic and varied sounding, perhaps its best to let this one rot in its own filth where it dwells in the darker recesses of the shadows.

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© Justin Donnelly