Artist: Idol Of Fear
Album Title: Trespasser
Label: Somnolence Productions
Date of Release: 11 March 2022
I’m not sure that my desire to uncover new music has ever been this strong. Therefore, after a couple of reviews that were very much familiar ‘Man Of Much Metal’ territory, I felt the need to bring you a review of this, the third full-length album by Canadian black metal band, Idol Of Fear. If you’re confused, thinking that I enjoy black metal music, you’d be correct. But Idol Of Fear come from the fringes of the genre of which I am generally less a fan.
The press release suggests that the music of Idol Of Fear is more akin to the likes of Deathspell Omega, Shining, and Mgla than Emperor, or early Cradle Of Filth or Dimmu Borgir. And whilst this rough signposting isn’t completely incorrect, I’m left scratching my head as to whether there is another band out there that sound quite like that with which I am faced here on ‘Trespasser’. If I’m honest, it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship I have with this music too. Some of the music I quite like, whilst other songs, I’m less keen on. Or, at least, that was my standpoint up until recently. As it turns out, the more I listen, the more it becomes more of a ‘love/slightly less keen’ relationship. After spending a fair amount of time getting to grips with Idol Of Fear’s offering here, I don’t hate any of the tracks; yes, I like some better than others, but ‘Trespasser’ is an intriguing record nonetheless, not least because of the atmospheres and the relative variety that’s delivered.
Things begin benignly enough as opening track ‘The Flayed Horizon’ is ushered into existence with a dark, dystopian intro, bristling with understated malevolence. With little warning, in comes a nasty, cold guitar sound around which is built a ritualistic, rhythmic stomp that only increases the early feelings of evil malevolence. What only becomes apparent to me after several careful listens though, is the subtle hint of melody beneath some depraved vocals as the churning, almost tribal battering continues steadfastly. The pace quickens at points, whilst dissonant tones give the composition an uncomfortable feel, and only add to the cloying atmospheres that dominate proceedings.
As intriguing and grotesque as the opener is, things only get better with the immediate follow-up, ‘Angel Dust’. Again, the song is laced with dissonant sounds, whilst the tempo, once again, is slower and more measured than much black metal tends to be. That said, there’s a strange, almost hypnotic magnetism that draws me in more and more with each listen. The guitars jar, whilst adding an integral, bold ingredient to the soundscape, whilst the bass provides a resonant rumble, adding weight to the angry guitar notes. At the halfway mark, or just before, the song changes, introducing a more immediate yet sorrowful melody, enhanced by synths and the sound of what appears to be brass. But I have to say, it works, especially with the cold, sharp guitars that add urgency and further evil intent.
You can’t help but love the choral vocals that lead ‘Cheirontonia’ into melancholy existence, almost religious sounding. It sets the tone well for the remainder of the song, as it’s a solemn affair, laced with misery and surprising elegance, although it takes a while for this realisation to dawn, so insidious is it’s dark beauty. I’m less enamoured with ‘Phantom’, but I fully understand that the tone and direction of the track is designed to keep the listener on edge, rather than offer enjoyment in the traditional sense of the word.
The title track is another with which I had a torrid beginning. On the one hand, the orchestral arrangement that features at the outset is magnificent, but the slow, doom-laden dirge, accented by bold organs is an aspect of the track that took a long time to appreciate. But here I am, some time later, stating that it has turned into a bit of a dark horse for me, offering an almost intangible quality that has won me over. Be it the layers of orchestration, the vague hints of melody, or the deep, guttural growls, I simply can’t say; maybe it’s a combination of everything. Regardless, I now look forward to hearing it each time I play the record.
Without any question, my favourite song on ‘Trespasser’ has to be ‘In The Cold Light Of Dawn’. Described by the band as more of a ‘poppy song’, I’d like to know what pop music they’ve been listening to, because it’s better than the rubbish we get here in the UK, that’s for sure. Admittedly, this track has the most pronounced melody within it, and it feels a little more straightforward in composition than others, but pop? No way. It still bristles with a sadistic spite regardless of the melodic underbelly, once again hypnotising and toying with the listener, much like a siren before devouring their prey. It was this song that gave me the route in to ‘Trespasser’ and provided the impetus to continue, so I owe it a debt of thanks too.
Into the closing stages of ‘Trespasser’ and the great material keeps on coming, predominantly in the shape of ‘Alone With You’ and the finale, ‘Endless’. The former is brutal and uncompromising, with some absolutely killer guitar notes, particularly around the halfway mark. The kind that could shake the foundations of my house, they also have a primeval effect on me too, awakening something within me that I didn’t even know was there. ‘Endless’ on the other hand, is an intense instrumental piece, entirely synth-driven and beautiful in the sense that it conveys a certain enmity, whilst also being strangely comforting and resonant.
Another day goes by and with it, my musical horizons have been broadened yet again. ‘Trespasser’ might not be my usual go-to style of heavy music, but it has forced me to rethink this to a certain extent. And it has done this by challenging me, but also by creating some incredibly powerful music in the first place. I love the way that Idol Of Fear can create songs that are as majestic and beautiful as they are brutal, nasty, and uncomfortable. When these two forces combine, it’s only a matter of time before I succumb. Take a listen yourselves to see if you feel the same way. Highly recommended.
The Score of Much Metal: 87%
Check out my other 2022 reviews here:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: