Every single Krieg release is an event. Since 1998’s utterly diabolical nihilistic masterpiece “Rise of the Imperial Hordes”, Krieg has mastered the art of intense rage and bleak emotions and transpired all boundaries of art. The outpourings of a single individual named Imperial, Krieg is his audial confluence of fits of alcoholism, loss of loved ones, betrayal, and intense, seething hatred.

Once an object of ridicule by the Scandanavian stalwarts of black metal, Krieg was among the acts that led the charge for the American black metal scene in the late 1990s that seemingly turned the tide irreversibly as indeed now so few Scandinavian acts from the past and present are worth wasting any time on today (greed tends to do that). This time around the roster of guest musicians include Joey Van Fossen of Noctuary, Wrest of Leviathan, and Chris Grigg of Woe, certainly a veritable wealth of talent. Weaving a hypnotic tapestry of intense, often trancelike despondency, “The Isolationist” has that concept album feel that lies within each Krieg release without centering around one central subject. Tempos, mesmerizing and intoxicating throughout, often vary from blasting to medium and the vocals are always tortured and feel like meathooks digging through your flesh (allegedly Imperial suffered permanent vocal cord damage from his screams on “Rise of the Imperial Hordes”, so those emotions have sadly never been duplicated). The production seems a little on the rough side to add to the effect of isolationism (pun very much intended).

Clocking in at nearly an hour, Krieg once again triumphs and leaves an indelible mark on the world of underground music and I sure hope he never rests until the world has other plans for him! (FA)