Leaving This World, Leaving It All Behind

In 2020 I reviewed Seattle’s atmospheric black metal band- Izthmi’s impressive debut The Arrows of Our Ways. The band had only released a prior demo and I had never heard of them before and was blown away by the debut album. Album #2 Leaving This World, Leaving It All Behind sees the band progressing in many ways, but some filler too. There are 2 short instrumentals on this album and the opening song is an atmospheric intro. That makes for only 5 true songs. The 5 original songs help carry the album and are much longer in nature.

After the intro the close to 11 minute “The Shadows of Our Disillusionment” erupts. Starting atmospheric and soft it soon gets into blazing blast beats with fiery black metal riffing with a killer scream. The song slows down and gets melodic before the dual black metal and at times deeper register death metal bellows trade off while the mid-paced rhythm takes center stage. The song gets slow then blasts more with killer black metal vocals. The 3.10 section, with the slower progressive parts and vocals, and then trading off into harsh blast beats are excellent. Much of the melodic elements from the debut are all over this song but have been expanded even more which in turn creates more of an emotive atmosphere.

The 10 minute “The Laughable Semblance of Freedom” starts with soft guitars and harsh black metal screaming vocals. An original idea I had not heard in some time. The progressive rhythm section takes center stage as drummer Nolan Head adds quite a bunch of tasty beats and drum rolls even while the song is slower. Almost poly-rhythmic in nature I notice some newer Cynic influence on this. A little prog rockish, imo. The 3.17 gets into a scorching blast with varied vocals and guitars then slowing things down with a tremendous amount of melody, which incorporates some classic metal moments. After the blasting around the 7-minute mark things slow down to more progressive and emotive moments and then the song gets into slower heavier moments before ending. This track is incredible and if you’re feeling sad, some of the depressive moments filled with despair, may not be the song for you. I find this emotive track to be exceptional.

“Leaving This World” is almost the fourth filler song as it stays in instrumental mode for almost the entire three plus minutes but some soft spoken moments are thrown in. This track actually works, as opposed to those 3 other filler tracks, because this goes directly into the 11 minute “Leaving It All Behind”. I like the fact the band split up the wordy album title into these two separate tracks. Very clever and neat. This song rages. Killer blasts and vocalist Jakob Keizer delivering a killer performance of varied vocals. The 5.20 moment, after the blasts, have extraordinary melodic riffing from Autumn Day and Brett Tomsett as the guitar work is impeccable on this. Pretty original riffing. Gabe Kangas plays the piano on here and provides some nice bass guitar work. The bass is audible and works well.

I truly enjoy Izthmi’s second album Leaving This World, Leaving It All Behind quite a lot. The album would have resonated with me a little more if there was another song and some of the instrumentals canned in place of that, as those stop gap interludes throw off the flow of this record. Regardless; this is scorching black metal but done with class and progressive metal roots with plenty of emotive elements to sink your teeth into. The album cover is another thought provoking and striking one, as the debut was. I love this band’s album artwork-it really goes with their music. Really good music and album. Check these gents out!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 11th, 2022


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