The world needs more Satanic antifascist metal bands, and while we wait for the rest of the global metal community to catch up, thank fuck for Ilsa. The DC collective have been locked into a fetid, crusty death/doom groove since 2008, churning out splits with Hooded Menace, Seven Sisters of Sleep, and the the mighty Coffins alongside four full-length horrors of their own making. For their fifth LP, Corpse Fortress, Ilsa have joined forced with Relapse Records, a move that will hopefully help spread their particular strain of audio pestilence far and wide. Lord knows we need it.
The album itself is a feral, muddy orgy of depravity and doom, as nasty and brutish as anything Thomas Hobbes could've imagined back in war-torn, disease-riddled 1651 when he wrote his landmark treatise Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil. There's delicious irony in knowing that the ghost of Hobbes—who was a big fan of authoritarian government—haunts the second track on an album by a bunch of sworn leftists, but Ilsa has always reveled in transgression and contradiction.
Corpse Fortress rides hard along the crumbling path trodden by down-tuned degenerates like Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and crust punk heavyweights Antisect and Anti Cimex, and is crowned with a warm, wooly guitar tone that's pure rotten filth, a subterranean low end, and strained, shredded vocals. The band has long sworn allegiance to horror movies, and the album is rife with spooky samples and general perversion. Ilsa's desire to dig into humanity's basest instincts has served them well—and they've got fuckin' riffs, too.
"We're always trying to stay transgressive and raw, opening veins hat we can't close o easily sew up," vocalist Orion told Noisey. "If metal is the sound of a well-tuned machine, we are that blood-encrusted, hair-matted machinery after it's ground up every worker in the factory, sputtering and rumbling on."
Preorder the album here, and listen to Corpse Fortress in all of its bloody, snarling entirety below.
Kim Kelly is in the kingdom of darkness, aka Twitter.