Nazxul remained rather silent in the 2000s and, in fact, this is the band first full-length in 14 years. Now I must confess that I’m not familiar with Nazxul’s back catalogue (soon to be fixed though as I’ve already received a promo of their debut that was just rereleased) so this is written from the perspective of a total newbie to Nazxul’s music.
What Iconoclast seems to offer is synth heavy melodic black metal. Clear and professional production backs up this lengthy piece of 14 tracks - of which some are pure ambient interludes, though. There’s almost nothing obscure about Iconoclast: everything is upfront and easy listen to, from the accurate and massive drumming to the evil shrieking somewhere in the middle range. However, a great deal of details can be found from the record as it contains many layers of sounds, so it’s not like Iconoclast is THAT simple album to digest.
While the first half of Iconoclast focuses on faster tempo and more devilish output, the eleventh track ”Oath (Fides Resurrectio)” slows things down a little and sounds upbeat, at least partially. This kind of little variation between songs is very welcome. I also find myself enjoying the short ambient pieces greatly in all their minimalism: they’re done with good taste, humming and droning pieces of simple sounds.
What I fail to grasp about all the hype I see revolving around this album is that what makes Iconoclast so special? Most certainly, the album is well done in every aspects but I can’t help thinking that this doesn’t differ so much from some other modern symphonic black metal efforts. Nonetheless, you can expect a lot of great atmosphere from this album even if it doesn’t provide any surprising moments. At all, really. From that perspective, Iconoclast suffers a lot. But then again, I do enjoy the album all around but, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve all the praise that it’s been getting. Definitely above your average symphonic black metal album, anyways.