Iscarioth hails from Klin, a village in the Moscow region (Russia). This trio has been working on their distinct sound of extreme metal since 2012. I'm not surprised that this act has been picked up by Symbol Of Domination Productions. This label seems to have a flair for original, out-of-the-ordinary music. They have surprised me in a good way in the past few months and with this album it's no different. 'I Am The Arm' is a great album with surprising hooks and brilliant riffs.
The album opens with an atmospheric piece of music, an intro so to speak. Immediately thereafter, Iscariot blast their massive sound through my speakers at high velocity. In 'Mountain Echo' I can hear a blend of old school extreme metal and so called black 'n' roll. In fact, that blend is present throughout the entire album, reaching an early highlight in title track 'I Am The Arm'. This is a ferocious headbanger, reminding me a bit of Samael but without the electronic aspect.
That's why I hesitate to label this music as 'black metal'. Besides Samael, bands like Moonspell, Tiamat and even Arch Enemy often come to mind. Acoustic guitars are being used in several songs, along with keyboards, creating elaborate atmospheric passages. That obviously doesn't make this album 'soft', on the contrary. For the majority of time, and especially in 'Voices Of The Twilight Forest' Iscarioth fiercely rocks. Besides, I can't help but feeling that these guys also like to listen to bands like Sisters Of Mercy or Fields Of The Nephilim.
'Jūros Šventė' is a breather, and a pretty good one too, driving on plucking guitars and with a narrating voice. Shortly thereafter, Iscarioth continues the melodic and quite technical metal assault. 'The Domain Of Seven Queens' is the strangest songs on this surprising and refreshing album. On one hand it's a great atmospheric metal song but on the other side it reminds me a bit of the blackjazz movement that seems to be going on these days.
I really think this is a band to keep an eye on. Their music brings a daring but highly enjoyable approach to all things blackened and certainly a lot of variation. If you are a dark metal fan who isn't afraid to go into extremes once in a while, you should check this out. I am already curious about the future of this band, since I feel that their best work is yet to come. Given time and effort, Iscarioth could come up with a dark metal masterpiece in a few years. 'I Am The Arm' is an excellent herald for that one.