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Judas Iscariot - Of Great Eternity (Reissue)

Judas Iscariot
Of Great Eternity (Reissue)
by Chris Hawkins at 11 June 2021, 9:03 PM

The short decade that JUDAS ISCARIOT was active (’92-’02) proved to be fortuitous for Akhenaten for in that early period, he was incredibly active releasing seven full-length albums and paving the way for the dawning of USBM.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine USBM without the guiding vision of Akhenaten pioneering the unknown frontier.  His brand of Black Metal focused on the nihilistic tendencies of man, confronting the religious oppression tearing at the fabric of Western society, and also exploring the metaphysical with a staunch appreciation of luminaries such as Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelly and English visionary William Blake (also the subject of a killer ULVER album, “Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”).  The album that is the subject of this review is JUDAS ISCARIOT’s fourth, titled “Of Great Eternity,” and it has been out of print since 2003.  Now, Moribund Records has released the album for fans across the globe to rabidly snatch up.

The allure of JUDAS ISCARIOT is one that can best be described as hypnotic.  “The Heavens Drop with Human Gore,” the first track, is an apt example of this.  The main riff has a droning effect and once one is lulled into a false sense of comfort, the blast beats ensue.  The more experimental side of this approach is demonstrated in the following track, “I Filled with Woes the Passing Wind,” propped up by a series of compelling, somber melodies stacked atop each other loosely yet artfully.  It is in a constant state of building, anticipation, an instrumental mélange rife with pointed, direct guitar lines that serve as an altar call of sorts.  Perhaps this is due to the processional vibe that takes hold, but I digress.  The point is that it is not a filler track or one to skip but rather sets the tone for the next movement for the project.

Certainly, the production reflects the DIY ethos associated with the band.  When treading in new territory, the perfect can often be the enemy of the good.  Thus, some of that polish must be sacrificed in pursuit of innovation, breaking new ground.  This is the case here because it sounds like a Black Metal album from the mid- ‘90s – which is exactly what it is (1997 to be precise).  Anyone who has read this far into the review is less concerned with an elaborate, slick production than the average Metal fan.  That being said, the production, in celebration of its inherent rawness, is essential to the atmosphere.  The guitar tone is the very blueprint for Black Metal tone, perhaps as much so as that of perennials DARKTHRONE and BURZUM.  It must be maintained as well that this was the vision of one man; therefore, the end result is that everything is as it should be.  Visceral.  Evil.  Powerful.  Resolute.

For the Last Judgment Draweth Night,” the fourth track, is a menacing, militant war cry.  The persistent, dissonant riff underneath Akhenaten’s declaration of “the God of War is drunk with blood!” is perfect, a staggering tremolo-fueled assault that incorporates all of the intention cast toward such a statement.  The following track, “Calls to Heaven for Human Blood,” reverts back to the other side of Akhenaten’s personality, a more melodic approach.  This Faustian, inviting assault of melody descends into chaos soon after.  The song continues to alternate between these two sides including a nasty mid-paced breakdown around the two-minute mark.  It is a much more diverse effort than the song preceding it.

Is this a perfect album?  By no means could it be labeled as such; however, it delivers an authentic indoctrination into the dystopian mind of Akhenaten.  Ultimately, it is a classic album and required listening for any true Black Metal fan.  Don’t sleep on this one because it may go out of print again!

Songwriting:  8
Originality:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  7

4 Star Rating

1. The Heavens Drop with Human Gore
2. I Filled with Woes the Passing Wind
3. The Mourns the Wanderer
4. For the Last Judgment Draweth Nigh
5. Calls to Heaven for Human Blood
6. Our Sons Shall Rule the Empire of the Sea
Akhenaten - Guitars, Vocals, Drums, Bass
Record Label: Moribund Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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