If there is one thing you can say about Illum Adora, it is that they have been one of the most prolific bands in the modern Black Metal scene. For the past seven years, fans have been gifted with yearly projects which hearken back to the sounds of the classic Greek Black Metal scene. Although Illum Adora is influenced heavily by Greek bands such as Necromantia and Rotting Christ, there is lots of variety to be found within their latest project, Miasma Of A Damned Soul. While this variety leads to an inconsistent EP, it still produces some truly special tracks.
The obvious highlights on the EP are the symphonic epics “Miasma Of A Damned Soul” and “Ancient Nekromanteion”. On these two tracks, the band is able to create truly epic and gripping soundscapes. They are undoubtedly stamped with the DNA of classic Second-Wave bands, such as Godkiller, but have a unique and enticing sound which sets them apart from their influences. This sound is especially appreciated in the modern climate of Black Metal, which so often dismisses classic influence in favor of adopting stylistic influences from unrelated genres, such as shoegaze. These two songs are a perfect example of how modern Black Metal can remain atmospheric, gripping, and enticing while still holding on to the genealogy of its predecessors.
While variation is definitely important in order to create a great album, Miasma Of A Damned Soul disappointingly travels much too far from the heights of their symphonic sound. Aside from the title track and “Ancient Nekromanteion”, the album falls flat into the land of the uninspired derivation. The opening track, “May The Winds Of Northern Storm Embrace My Blackened Heart” is a musically satisfactory love letter to classic Second-Wave bands, but fails to leave a lasting impression on the listener due to its generic nature. Even while the track is playing, it washes over the listener and doesn’t register much of any emotion.
The other two tracks on the EP, “Κέρβερος” and “Sleeping Under Tartarus”, play a groove based style of Black Metal reminiscent of Samael’s Ceremony of Opposites. Unlike Samael, though, these tracks lack any punch that could engage the audience, and instead come off as tedious and quite monotonous. My frustrations with these monotonous slow tracks are exacerbated by the amazing heights the symphonic cuts, especially the title track, are able to reach. I know this band is capable of producing near-perfect Black Metal, so why are they releasing such uninspired and disappointing songs?
In my humble opinion, Illum Adora should focus on quality over quantity with their music.
I am sure they could produce a modern classic if they took the time to refine their ideas and further develop their own voice within the confines of the traditional Second-Wave Black Metal sound instead of rushing to release a project every year. The title track is definite proof of the extreme potential this band holds if they are willing to put the time in to fine-tune their music. Overall, Miasma Of A Damned Soul is a tragically inconsistent album with high highs and low lows. The mediocrity of some tracks is definitely balanced by the atmosphere of the others, but this disparity prevents the listener from truly becoming immersed in the world Illum Adora is attempting to create.