Review: Overcoming the tendency to get stuck in an aesthetic groove alone, this album capitalizes on its legendary fusion of Burzum and Graveland technique into a wash of scrolling sound by attempting simple yet existential motions: songs built around collapsing arpeggiated chord progressions crash into a lower tone in cyclic repetition, then dig their way out through undertones to reach a comfortable balance of two chord riffs over which fast-picked lead rhythm playing laces a melody with the subtle simplicity of Summoning. In short, unlike all other clone bands, I Shalt Become is experience-based and while the mental journeys it takes are of a basic nature, it translates those sensations into an intangible beauty in darkness which pervades every aspect of this CD version of the first demo from this American band.
01. Intro (2:00)
02. Fragments (4:09)
03. The Funeral Rain (2:56)
04. Winter Lights (6:40)
05. Paintings In A Gallery (2:48)
06. Labyrinthine (2:51)
07. Thorns (2:52)
08. Insects (4:01)
09. Her Demons (4:26)
10. A Once Great Man (2:56)
11. Outro (1:52)
Vocals investigate several styles from throaty murmurs to tortured chihuahua noises and finally the classic Burzumic falsetto whisper-shriek, finding some common ground with Yamatu in their tendency to mimic patterns of speech off-tempo to the strobing deconstruction of chord into ambient waves of sound in the background; often, vocals are absent and leave us to find meaning in the drone of harmonic shape. Drums confine themselves to the early lessons of a percussionist and thankfully do not intrude much; bass points to key changes in progression. Much as Burzum achieved immersion through repetition of simple evocative patterns I Shalt Become employ cycling overlap of tone to suspend listeners in a cavern of sound paired to simple rhythms, addicting the mind as it tries to puzzle this abstract enigma.
Some songs betray their demo status by going nowhere, and remaining more like aesthetic fragments than completed statements, but these fit so well into the whole that they are unobtrusive. Unlike most who try to follow in the paths of the greats, this artistic entity chooses an ambiguous voice that does not dwell in a single emotion but is willing to rise above a negativity or bring it to a state of poignant indecision, often creating songs that as the title suggest circumnavigate an idea in several directions before lapsing out of conclusion or into one of the melancholic, gently beautiful and oddly emotionally sustaining passages which are one of the undiscovered treasures of this release.
The outright clones tried to use Burzum techniques to adorn their otherwise standard blockhead three chord black metal/hardcore/rock hybrids, but I Shalt Become attempts to excavate the spirit of black metal by applying the depth of its emotion to a fertile medium. While this work stops short of the reality-contorting forays encoded into some black metal, it creates a mantle of immaculately unclear beauty which blurs the power and meaning of the mundane world, and leaves us a portal to the soul of our own creative imaginations.