Canadian four-piece Iskra, make use of the black metal / crust punk template to issue one of the most savage statements against capitalism in recent times. The band’s third full length titled ‘Ruins’ was initially released back in 2015. It’s a good thing that Southern Lord Recordings are reissuing this album this year, as this album deserves more attention. The music is absolutely vicious in it’s intensity and rarely do Iskra let up during the course of the record. Right from the start, the abrasiveness is set to 11, making this an album not for the fainthearted.
The type of raw black metal, crust punk mix heard on this record is surely not winning any awards for innovation. However, that never really becomes an issue as Iskra’s performance more than makes up for it. Lawless and Ruins give the album a quick rapid start as they blast out the gates with rapid, black grind riffs that pummels on mercilessly. It is clear from the way the music flows that Iskra have a one point agenda and it is to deliver their anarchist message in the most crushing way possible. The sheer intensity of the music is compelling enough to get the message across and Iskra serves as a good band to listen to when one feels overwhelmed by the oppression of the modern capitalist system.
The vocalist makes use of rapid shrieks that sounds pissed off and demonic. On some of the longer tracks like Predator Drone MQ-1, Iskra incorporates bits of death metal and thrash to keep things engaging. The pacing is mid paced and there is a strong sense of groove to sustain the length of the track. It provides moments of freshness midst the black-grind mayhem. The mixing on the album ensures that all elements are heard clearly, despite the chaos caused by the music itself. Even the work of the bass is felt clearly and this gives Iskra a very layered, yet abrasive sound.
At the end of the day, ‘Ruins’ is a solid black / grind / thrash / punk record that should satisfy fans of bands like Absu and even Destroyer 666. The band makes no compromise to the song-writing and the entire album comes off as a single piece of blackened fury. Iskra’s composition skills however, ensures that each track has its own characteristic. The music carries the same level of feral savagery as the message the band tries to get across. Even if your political views does not align completely with the anarchist views the band sports, it is easy to overlook it for the sake of the music alone.