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Iselder – Cynefin

iselder – cynefin


One of my favourite Black Metal artists from the UK is Welsh one man band Iselder. The man behind the project, Gofid, has unleashed so many superb releases thus far including last years amazing ‘Shattered’ EP and the incredible 2021 EP ‘Fe Godwn Ni Eto’, plus many more. So you can imagine my excitement when Iselder announced a brand new album being scheduled for early 2023, and to sweeten the pot even more, UK label UKEM Records are the ones putting out the album on both CD and cassette. Iselder has made a name for itself through simple, catchy Black Metal melody and a deep rooted interest in Welsh heritage, so I fully expected new album ‘Cynefin’ to follow that trend and be highly enjoyable as a result.

I’ve always found Iselder’s work to have a buoyancy to it; a light heatedness to the music that often sits in stark contrast to the lyrical themes being explored. However, opening track ‘The World Turns to Black’ has none of the usual Iselder bounce to it, and is instead a plodding slab of chugging riffs and methodical drum tones, bolstered by a bleaker guitar melody and with grim spoken word vocals that hit with the clarity of a harbinger of death! Oddly, the vocal delivery combined with the simplistic yet engaging riffs and drumming style reminds me heavily of Danish Stoner Doom Metal band Moonless, whose 2011 album ‘Calling All Demons’ remains to this day one of my favourite albums, long after the band died into obscurity. This direct, bitter style continues onwards at a very deliberate pace throughout the next few tracks, with only spikes of speedy aggression occasionally flaring up every now and again, and with the overlaying bullying riffs tempered by a far darker and more intensive guitar rhythm.

Its the far more groove drenched bass leads and evil sounding guitar rhythms of ‘Dead Inside’ that hook me in the most on this album; another slow methodical track that breaks out into greater moments of steely, ice cold aggression but never feels out of control! ‘As I Gaze Upon the Stars’ has a glacial build up that reminds me of ‘Filosofem’ era Burzum; a thought that isn’t dispelled as the track winds along on its perilous and laboured journey. That is until a thick chugging riff style kicks in briefly before returning once more to the agonized crawl of before.

This is a very different beast than what I expected from Iselder; even down to the Black Sabbath style guitar groove during ‘Home’ that makes you think that we might hit into an ‘Iron Man’ cover at any moment. Yet in truth I’m delighted by this change of style, this more serious, bleaker style has made for another great offering from a man who already has a discography to be very proud of! This is a direct, forceful and determined album and UKEM Records have a belter of a new release on their hands!


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