In the arena of underground metal, there is no shortage of “active” artists that are in limbo instead of in the studio. Some of these bands are great. They are bands I refuse to give up on. Istapp is one of those bands. A refreshing blend of melodic Swedish black metal and folk, Istapp’s recordings are a consecrated celebration of winter. Istapp means icicle in Swedish. I’d be hard pressed to find something in nature more metal than an icicle. Not only is an icicle cold, it can fucking kill you. Approximately 30 people a year are impaled to death by falling icicles. That’s nothing to sniff at.
Istapp rivals the daunting omnipresence of the icicle with their 2010 release, Blekinge. Few bands match the coldness achieved on Blekinge while maintaining the beautiful resonance of melody we find here. There is a rawness to their sound, found in few melodic bands that eliminates an element of cheese so often celebrated in the world of folk metal. Istapp is a novel amalgamation of Swedish black metal pioneers Dissection and Slavic Pagan Metal outfit Temnozor. The band could set itself apart even more by focusing more on the folk elements of the sound, perhaps experimenting with instruments like the flute or horn. The clean vocals, while sparse, are anthemic and highly impressive, leaving the listener wishing for more. Not only will you be wanting more clean vocals whilst listening to the 2010 release, you will want more material. Unfortunately there is not much. Istapp has released three demos and a compilation entitled Koldens Union in addition to Blekinge.
While everything the band has released is worth listening to the band has been seemingly out of commission since 2010. One can only discern that there have been problems with the lineup as Istapp did not begin as a one man project. We can only hope that Istapp will soon record again, but for now I welcome you to join me in the frostbitten fury that is Istapp. Happy Listening. Hails!