By Jonathan Smith
It’s a shame that the latest release from Nazxul didn’t end up in my hands until now. However, better late than never, particular in the case of this strong release from the Australian black metallers. The songs on Iconoclast are bursts of epic black metal with frequent instrumental interludes acting as bumpers in-between the heavier material. While this may sound irritating, in this case it works well even though it does take a few listens to become accustomed to it. The result is a “start-and-stop” mixture of dramatic soundtrack-like music and bombastic waves of often symphonic black metal that easily bring to mind earlier releases from Emperor. A good example of this is “Symbol of Night & Winter (Ancient Lords),” a later track which features Nazxul at their most cataclysmic. Though Iconoclast is only the band’s second full-length release, they’ve been around since the early nineties (a lot of their work in this time has appeared on split and compilation albums). Perhaps this approach has influenced the band’s choosing to unleash their full force in small but hard-hitting doses. Despite Nazxul’s more arid southern hemisphere imagery, Iconoclast has a traditional but ferocious sound that is anything but dry.