Okay, first of all, what the hell? A Malaysian Atmospheric Black Metal? Have I been living under the rocks all this while? Secondly, how come I have never heard of this band? This band originated from my very own country where I live and breathe, yet I have never come across of this band (and none of my local contacts mention the band)? I want to kick myself in the face for that. Introducing Iravu, a solo Atmospheric Black Metal project from Kuala Lumpur (that’s my hometown, so there’s even more reason to be super stoked). Iravu recently released its first full length called ‘A Fate Worse than Home’ via Vita Detestabilis Records and Fiadh Productions on January 2023.
A Fate Worse than Home combines Atmospheric Black Metal with a touch Ambient and Progressive here and there, making this album quite diverse in its sound. The album opens with the title track and right off the bat, listeners will be greeted with short ambient, almost space-y intro before it goes full Black Metal, complete with wall of sound guitars, earth shattering drumming, atmospheric keyboards floating in between, roaring vocals back in the mix and blazing fast, almost Prog-like guitar solo. I really love how the song gives me the feel of drifting alone and aimlessly in the space, awaiting for the impending death.
It’s dark and pessimistic, yet there’s a glint of hope shining through in each of the track.
Second track, The Creature gives off a Dissonant style Black Metal with jangly guitars making appearance in the middle of the song. While it’s less atmospheric than the title track, I like the dreaded and depressing tone even though there are plenty of blastbeats on it. Reflection on the other hand is a Dark Ambient track reminiscence of Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite with even more sinister and pessimistic vibe. I would imagine it’s a track for Alien films; dark, gritty, and horrifying. Fear and Lead picks up where The Creature left but with slightly more complex execution and leaning towards Melodic Death Metal ala early Swedish Melodeath bands. This is probably my least favourite track in the album (still good nonetheless) but damn, that Dissection inspired guitar solo is unexpected. The final track Home is an all out Progressive/Atmospheric Black Metal fest with killer twin guitar solo and fantastic synth works are having an epic duel. The space-y feel really shines in the final track and it’s a perfect ending to this excellently executed album. It’s dark and pessimistic, yet there’s a glint of hope shining through in each of the track. I feel this is what Iravu aimed for, but hey, I could be wrong.
Iravu is definitely a rare breed in the local scene and probably will be so in a long time…
A Fate Worse than Home is not something I expect from a Malaysian band. And I don’t mean it in a negative way. The execution, the songwriting and the influences are definitely different from what I usually came across from a local band. Iravu is definitely a rare breed in the local scene and probably will be so for a long time but I hope this release will inspire more Malaysian bands to take up this kind of style and go out for international market. I might have found my Album of the Year, although it’s probably too early for that. On that note, A Fate Worse than Home will definitely be in my playlist for a very long time. I believe Iravu will go far, simply because Malaysia Boleh!
A Fate Worse than Home is now available on cassette and digital download format.
FFO: Panopticon, Mare Cognitum, ISIS, Wolves in the Throne Room, Altar of Plagues