By Nathanas Trismegistus
Seeds of Iblis – Morbid Muhammad; released April 20, 2020 by Pest Productions. Why April 20? Who can say? This is the band’s second album, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember if I ever listed to their first, 2013’s Anti Quran Rituals. I do own their second EP, “The Black Quran”, which is a short but thoroughly enjoyable (if not for the production quality) listen. Since that particular release comprises the whole of my experience, it will also be my sole source of reference and comparison. No doubt that, due to the nature and sensitivity of the subject matter which this album and this controversial band represent, some would criticize me for drawing attention to it. Well, I expect to hear the same objections every time I review an anti-Christian band from now on.
Seeds of Iblis has three claims to fame: they are a black metal band from Iraq, they are an anti-Islamic black metal band from Iraq, and they are fronted by a woman who, presumably, is obligated to wear a burqa whenever in public. Of course, these claims are all specious at best. Nobody really knows if the band ever has (or still does) reside in Iraq. Nobody really knows anything regarding the identities of the band members. The band seem really determined to uphold the kvlt tradition of mystery and anonymity, which is respectable, even if necessary in this case. A lot of black metal bands like to maintain this facade of mystique, but very few are ever in any real, direct threat to their lives or livelihoods. You could say that Seeds of Iblis is the “real deal”.
Seeds of Iblis’ music is certainly something of note. It’s very melodic. It’s very pleasant, at least to my ears. Of course, I’ve always liked music with a Middle Eastern flair. The drums are very simple (and probably not real). There are some very faint symphonic elements which remind me of Drowning the Light. The most notable of this bands elements are the vocals. They’re very strange. Very weak; almost like they were whispered into the microphone. If they were performed in secret, then that would certainly explain their peculiarity. Don’t expect much from the production quality. It’s not good. Very raw and unpolished, but not the right kind of raw and unpolished. Nothing sounds real, except maybe the guitars. But, again, understandable given the likelihood that none of the band members have any access to decent equipment. If I had any complaints about this album, it would be the voice samples of various speeches which riddle this album. I don’t know where they’re from. I don’t know what they’re saying (presumably all in Arabic). I don’t know if its important. But there’s too much of it. If you trimmed all of that out, this album would probably only be 38 minutes long (from 45 minutes).
Seeds of Iblis stands as a testament that, if you truly – in your heart of hearts – want to accomplish any given goal, if you want to start that band or musical project but inhibition, for some reason, prevents you, there is absolutely no fucking excuse. Seeds of Iblis (purportedly) hail from a society that is markedly conservative, oppressive, and intolerant of their views, and yet they continue to make blasphemous black metal. Is it good, though? I certainly think so. Favorite track? Definitely tracks 3 and 7 (although, I have to say that intro riff sounds very familiar). Track 1 is a phenomenal intro, really sets the tone well. If your tolerance for weak production and extremely unbalanced performances is high, if your expectations can be appropriately tempered, I would absolutely recommend this album to any fan of kvlt blasphemous black metal. Is it essential, though? Really difficult to say. There’s nothing terribly original going on here. They don’t do anything which I haven’t heard other bands in their category do better. It’s definitely flawed. Maybe too much padding. Relative to its circumstances, though, I would consider it essential. We’ll call Morbid Muhammad an “honorary” essential album. First of its kind. Check it out!
Listen/buy here: https://seedsofiblis.bandcamp.com/album/morbid-muhammad