Judas Iscariot - _Heaven in Flames_
(Red Stream, 2000)
by: Aaron McKay (8 out of 10)
It becomes increasingly more difficult to explain the differences between separate varieties of black metal despite how independent their sound may be. For example, Judas Iscariot boasts proud and skillful obvious black metal compositions, yet as dauntless as it is, the music comes across almost repressively understated. An impressive texture actualizes itself in this technique, I think. Comparatively, bands like Dark Funeral and Marduk take a direct, marauding strategy. One no more or less black metal than the other, but it is this type of alluring sophistications that beguile even the most casual of fans. (At this point, brevity of subject being a goal, I think it best not to even touch on the complexities of Bethlehem.) _Heaven in Flames_ did not take me by surprise as, let's say, _Destroyer_ did, but rather chose to build upon itself with subsequent listens. I know that I have brought this up in past reviews, however the comment that JI's sound coming across as "pulled back" or in some enterprising way "muted" in feel, is also applicable to _HiF_'s mood. At this point, having just explained that, I am reminded of Sacrifice's "Storm in Silence". That title may help communicate the point a bit better. Certainly underground and defiantly grim, Judas Iscariot does not suffer from inexperience. This one man project was stoked from non-existence by Akhenaten, the founder and sole member. Subsequently releasing five efforts after beginning on Moribund Records with the 1995 debut _The Cold Earth Slept Below_, JI now stands on the precipice of "Eternal Bliss... Eternal Death", which, by the way, is my favorite track on the disc. I'd have to say, watch for more from this guy; Akhenaten knows what he likes.

(article published 25/5/2000)


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