Polish black metal horde Illness are releasing their newest EP ‘Trvmna’ through Black Plague records this year, marking the fourteenth year of foul black metal vomited from their own particular cave in the abyss.
After their intro, which reinvents Chopin’s funeral march as a echoing organ/piano dirge to great effect, the title track roars into life (death?) with a sickening, morbid belch. Screams and sobbing lead you into a dense assault of pure evil, where rasping vocals conjure up all kinds of dark images. The blasting is relentless, and Illness remind me of a denser, rawer Marduk in their unstoppable crush.
The cloying, choking atmosphere is nowhere more apparent than the suffocating ‘Dødskyggen’, as if the blastbeats were the jackboots of infinity, churning up dust and choking filth. Even the brief respites from the blasting are intense, with creepy samples slotting in. The Mysticum cover, ‘The Kingdom Comes’, captures the dark magic of the original perfectly, each eerie chord coming through dark and clear. The ghostly ‘Grobowa Mg³a’ has an almost sideshow feel to it, with bouncy keyboard lurking within creaking vocals and other strange effects. It’s clearly mental, and you can see why they refer to themselves as ‘black schizophrenic metal’.
Finishing with the clattering ‘Cranium’, ‘Trvmna’ shows Illness to be not only a harsh and excellent traditional blakc metal band, but also one not afraid to step outside the constraints of the genre to enhance their music with a little touch of madness. Dark, weird but thoroughly absorbing.