ISTAPP
The Insidious Star
(Trollzorn Records)
35:47min

Swedish horde ISTAPP are back with their third full-length "The Insidious Star" and apart from UNANIMATED this release was the one, I was really looking forward to as the band has not disappointed me before and became a real small force in the melodic Death / Black Metal sector. ‘Eternal Winter’ starts their new album with a scream and the lyrical content already continues their direction even though their whole concept is more melodic here and more inspired by classic Heavy Metal. The unexpected melodic vocals in the chorus take a little while to get into, but definitely are a huge step forward. The damn good leads really show their matured songwriting before another really cool Heavy Metal lead in the middle rounds off this cool opener. ‘Dit Solen Aldrig Når’, written in their own language, starts really melodic with another fine memorable melody, fantastic technical drumming and good vocals. In the middle the song gets varied again with clean choral-styled vocals in the chorus. Normally this is something you can haunt me with but ISTAPP managed to get this incorporated really carefully and so these regular appearing chants fit in very well and are well-effected and help to emphasize the leads. This leads into ‘Natten Då Gud Blundade (1888)’, starting again with the mentioned chants which really deliver a pretty fine folky atmosphere. I think this track really is representative for their current direction and also again shows their classic Heavy Metal edge which really can bring them some more listeners without selling out their Black Metal roots. ‘Snowball Earth’ starts with some old IN FLAMES vibes before turning black again and their folky path is followed once again but in the middle they return to these IN FLAMES vibes and let an old fart like me remember the times when stuff like this enchanted my ears in the mid 90s. ‘Muspelheim’ returns to their roots and serves the older fans with some frosty and harsh tunes while ‘The Alliance Of Cold’ and ‘The Isidious Star’ deliver again some frosty but also melodic Black Metal. Same goes for ‘Vita Döden’ which surprises with some Speed Metal tunes before classic Heavy Metal rounds off this well done song. The last track ‘Orrekulle’ is another fine track which shows its quality in the second part, which is again lead by an outstanding lead guitar melody. The overall production of the album is clear and powerful and each track has some little surprises and fine notes to discover and the variety in their songwriting really makes this output worth to check. Together with THORMESIS and their album "The Sixth", "The Insidious Star" definitely has set bar very high for all other bands of this genre for this year. For more info, check one of the following frosty paths: www.facebook.com/istappofficial, www.trollzorn.de

Michael Kujawska

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ISTAPP - Frostbiten - by Michael Kujawska

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