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Track Premiere: Iskandr – “Regnum”

I’ve lamented in the past about how it simply isn’t humanly possible to keep track of all the world’s national and regional black metal scenes. For every Brooklyn or Iceland or Québec or Portugal that I have on my radar, there’s a Poland that I’m completely unaware of until something lands in my inbox that makes me want to take a closer look (and listen). I get that. I even begrudgingly accept it – there is more incredible black metal being released right now than one person could listen to in an whole lifetime.

That being said, how in the ever-loving fuck did I not pick up on what’s been happening in the Netherlands recently? The truly frustrating thing is that I almost got there a few months back when I included the Vilkacis/Turia split under ‘Honorable Mentions’ on my Best of ’18 So Far… list. Instead, I’m standing here like Charlie Brown after costing his astonishingly inept baseball team yet another game, thinking ‘I had it, and I dropped it – good grief!’

Fortunately for all of us, Eisenwald Tonschmiede have their ears on that part of the world, and on October 12 the venerable German label will be unleashing a trio of new albums from the Dutch black metal underground upon North America: Solar Temple‘s Fertile Descent, a split between Fluisteraars and Turia entitled De Oord, and Iskandr‘s Euprosopon. Even though these bands doesn’t have a catchy name for themselves like Vrasubatlat (which, now that I think about it, isn’t particularly catchy at all), they do seem to be a collective of sorts. And much like R. plays in all of the Vrasubatlat bands, multi-instrumentalist O. is the common link between Solar Temple, Turia, and Iskandr.

We’re premiering a track from the last of those three bands here today at the Vault. The heathen black metal-leaning Iskandr, which sees O. team with session drummer M. Koops of Fluisteraars, is probably the most melodic of his projects. Euprosopon doesn’t quite veer far enough into that melodic territory, though. to really warrant the ‘atmospheric’ tag. If anything, four epic songs that make up the 45-minute album are almost progressive in their structures. For example, consider “Regnum,” which you can hear below. The song’s title translates as ‘Kingdom,’ and there’s definitely something regal-sounding in the arrangements during the first several minutes of the song – including what sound like horn accents, but I’m guessing was actually played on guitar (there are similar accents on “Verban,” and I’m 99% sure it’s all guitars on that track). In some ways, it reminds me a bit of more recent Imperial Triumphant, but minus the overwhelming dissonance. And I won’t spoil it, but the song’s last few minutes are positively breathtaking…

O. had this to say about the track:

“Regnum” is a song about the impermanence of kingly might and seemingly eternal power. All great empires will eventually crumble and all those with unimaginable power will crawl. It is perhaps the most forceful expression of my music yet, and I think a great pathway into this record.

Euprosopon will be available in Europe on September 28 and in the US on October 12 on digital/CD/LP from Eisenwald (preorder here), and on cassette from Haeresis Noviomagi (watch for ordering information here). Until then, enjoy the triumphant “Regnum” below.

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