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On disc: I Shalt Become

Poison - Mike Thompson - 8 stars


(Moribund Records - 2010)

Poison is the fifth full-length album from US black metal project I Shalt Become. Lone member S. Holliman started the project in 1995 and recorded two demos and an album between '95 and '98 and then went on an extended hiatus until 2008. Since then there have been four albums released.
I Shalt Become's music on Poison can be labelled as atmospheric and symphonic. I am struggling to find much black metal on display here though. In many ways it is very reminiscent of Austrian legends Summoning, albeit without the Tolkien themes. The synth elements are very high in the mix and conjure up a very epic and majestic feel throughout the album. The drumming is really the only other instrument that plays a major part in this music as the guitars seem to be non-existent or lost in the mix.
Vocally, the album is pretty weak. Holliman uses hoarse black metal croaking and its pretty unintelligible. I suppose the best thing about the vocals is that they sound just like another instrument adding atmosphere to the proceedings as opposed to something that needs to be listened to as a separate entity to understand what is being said.
All of the songs, ten in all, blend almost seamlessly into one another making it impossible to pick out top tracks. However, Leaving Watership Down, did have some moments that made me sit up and take notice. The rest, well, its all well-played, generally relaxing, atmospheric, synth-heavy music with a few metal interludes – the beginning of The Swarming Of The Locusts, for example. If, unlike me, you're into this sort of music I think you'll find a lot to enjoy here, just don't expect much metal. This isn't really the sort of music I tend to listen to but I did enjoy this album quite a lot.

8 stars

Mike Thompson


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