Ilsa - Preyer

As a doom metal guitarist, I know exactly what I am looking for when I listen to doom bands and Ilsa hits that nail on the head brutally and with conviction. Ilsa is based out of Washington DC with 6 albums to their name, with their latest album "Preyer" that is set to be released November 20th, 2020.

"Preyer" brings forth songs about a victim of the Satanic Panic, Sean Sellers. While Sellers was a young teen, he got a copy of Anton Lavey’s Satanic Bible and found himself within the texts, and he decided after a ritual that he was going to go kill, and that’s what he did. While he stated that he shot the Circle K employee due to an alleged line about human sacrifice in the Satanic Bible, he fails to mention that Anton LaVey was very much against the use of violence and would never support such a thing.

Be that as it may, Sellers ultimately killed his mother and stepfather and tried to make it look like a home invasion. He was convicted of 2 counts of murder and was given the death penalty. While in Prison, he confessed to the killing of a Circle K employee by shooting him in the chest with a hollow point. This confession is used in the opening track 'Epigraph'. Sellers is the only person to be sentenced to death that was under the age of 17 at the time of the crimes and it was later revealed that he had dissociative personality disorder at the time of the killings, which he should not have been charged as he was suffering from insanity. He converted to Christianity while in prison, probably as way to get clemency. Sellers appealed many times and he was rejected each and every time, including not having his diagnosis honored by the court. I personally believe that he was charged the way he was at such a young age and his mental disorder ignored due to his practice of LaVayan Satanism, making him yet another victim of Christian fascism and hate and his execution yet another religiously fueled murder at the hands of the church when should have sent to a mental institution for medical help. Unfortunately many others suffered at the hands of Christians during the satanic panic of the 1980s, and they are were completely innocent.

Ilsa makes their message and sound immediately clear from the very beginning of the album and while the eleven songs that are on the album are not as long as some would like, they hit hard bringing a power with their cords that shake and rattle the ways as if doomsday was rapidly approaching. The use of doomy tri-cords, referred to as “the devil in music” for it’s dreadful dissonance, is forever alive and well in this album. You can hear the pain and impending doom a mentally ill 30 year old felt as he counted down his days until his death 13 years after being arrested at the age of 17. They tell his story and how when he needed help over apathy, the state put their Christian views first before helping a mentally unstable man who needed medicine, not prison. Riff after riff we hear him sink deeper and deeper into his agony and regret until the moments when he takes his last breaths as that cold liquid of death hits his mortal veins. Ilsa keeps the songs tight and professional while maintaining a steady momentum from start to finish as the present their message and keeping their true punk rock ethos. I personally have to give this band 2 thumbs up. Based on my appreciation of their message, their brilliant riffs and doomsday feel I am more than happy to give Ilsa a 4/5 and I hope you find their music as great as I did. You can find their music on Bandcamp if you feel so inclined. It keep doomy and keep it groovy.

4 / 5 STARS 


1. Epigraph
2. Poor Devil
3. Moonflower
4. Shibboleth
5. Mother Of God
6. Scavengers
7. Widdershins
8. Preyer
9. Lady Diamond
10. Behind The Veil
11. The Square Coliseum