Irdorath is a four piece black/thrash metal band from Austria that was founded back in 2005. Over the years, Irdorath has seen some lineup changes – Markus (Leitner, guitar and vocals) being the only original member of the band left. Thomas (Leitner, drums) already joined back in 2008. If that name sounds familiar, it might be that you listened to him in one of the other five (!) bands where he delivers his merciless drumming. That also includes one of my favourite bands, Véhémence from France. On bass, Mario (“Leão”Jackisch) joined shortly thereafter in 2009, while Craig (Hauser, also active in Seduced) is the latest addition, having joined Irdorath on guitar in 2016.
With such a lineup, one would expect highly skilled musicians at work, and I’ll be damned if that isn’t the case. The band has been quite consistent in their release cycles, dropping a record every 3~4 years, culminating in their fifth record The Final Sin, which was released in May of this year. Being vaguely familiar with their records Dekonstrukteur des Fleisches from 2010 and Denial of Creation from 2017, I can confidently state that the musicians seem to continuously mature, both in technical finesse and in the songwriting department. While I can remember myself skipping through some parts of Denial of Creation while enjoying others, I did not really find anything to skip on The Final Sin. On the contrary, when my first run through the record was over, 42 minutes seemed to have flown by and I hit play again.
Chains of Virtue starts off the record with a short ambient intro with church sounds, bells and rustling chains. And in case it wasn’t obvious from the intro, the cover art and the track names, Markus initiates the song by screaming “But what are religions, other than shackles, with which the stronger wants to bind the weak!?” into your ear. So far so clear, the mission statement is understood, and Irdorath intend to stick with it. What follows after that is a pleasant mix of typical black metal tremolo-picked riffs accompanied by blast beats, hard breaks with beautiful drum fills and very theatrical, even epic guitar melody work.
Irdorath continues this mix throughout the whole record, and they do so extremely well. The band expertly understands how long to stay on a certain riff or melody, and they switch between parts seemingly effortlessly. A slower part with open chords or clean guitars as used in Redeemer of the Heretics or Divine Delusion thrown in every now and then also allow a clearer glimpse at the sounds from Mario’s bass through the thick thunderstorm that is the drumming and riffing on The Final Sin. It’s a joy listening to such highly skilled musicians working together that well, and the production supports that. It is modern and heavy, maybe a touch sterile, but clear enough to let the listener follow and understand the fast riffing and drumming.
All that praise aside, the biggest surprise for me were the vocals. As shortly mentioned, I have listened to some of their records years ago, and was not blown away by the vocals back then. While I still recognized Markus’ distinct voice on this record, some parts on The Final Sin were delivered in a much wider range of vocal styles than what I remembered from Irdorath’s past or would have expected. A tip of the hat and compliments to Markus to this growth as a vocalist.
All in all, The Final Sin is a well written, well performed and well produced black metal record with strong influences from both thrash and death metal. In my humble opinion, this is the best that Irdorath have produced so far, and seems to hint at even better things to come, if their upwards spiral continues from record to record as it has until now. I have seen some rising international recognition of this band lately, and expect more of that to come. It would certainly be deserved.