Insula Albionum - Revolt Of The Iceni
Melodic Death Metal
3 songs (16:45)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat

Derived from the earliest known name for Great Britain, Insula Albionum is a project of Exsequor mainman Celentium, going under Darrell Drew here. The band, as any history buff will be able to guess, deals with the revolt of the Iceni tribe against the Roman occupiers of their land in AD 61, when after the flogging of Boudica and the rape of her daughters she led an uprising that sacked what is now London, St Albans and Colchester before being halted by the inferior-numbered yet superior-disciplined Roman forces at the Battle Of Watling Street. It’s a story that lives on in British legend, as it rightfully should – it’s quite possible to have a cultural identity without falling victim to nationalism, and a figure of rebellion like Boudica – female, no less! – is an icon that most countries cannot boast of.

Now, as to the musical treatment of this legend, there’s little to complain about considering that this is a demo. Presentation-wise, this is damn impressive, the CD arriving in a jewelcase with colour booklet and full lyrics provided – this is clearly a labour of love for Drew, who provides vocals and guitars here. Kicking off with The Sacred Defilement, galloping riffs and capable drums (session player Gregory Williams filling in there) soon turning to an Amon Amarth-esque pounding with Drew’s Heggish vocals. The song turns atmospheric partway through, melancholic Doom-Death influences rising to the surface, smoothly tying separate musical threads together and filling the five-minute song length with style. Following track Isle Of Mona opens slow and then takes a more Blackened turn, speeding up and heading for the sort of atmospheric territory that’s sure to put the susceptible into a glorious trance, although you have to wait for final track Camulodinum for this element to hit its peak. It’s the classic Melodic Death elements that really are the highlight, however, and as such Revolt Of The Iceni promises much for the future, delivering enough here to make you want to see what a full album from Insula Albionum would be like.

It’s put together too well to be just the sum of Drew’s influences; far from original, granted, and if I may be pessimistic for a moment, sure to be buried amidst a storm of other bands trying to do the same thing, but it’s well-played and passionate about its subject. A full-length would need to do more than just repeat the tricks here, perhaps throwing some battle samples in there to get the attention of the “Battle Metal” horde, but based on the three tracks here Insula Albionum have something worthy to say; let’s hope they get the chance to do so.

Killing Songs :
The Sacred Defilement, Isle Of Mona, Camuldinum
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