Sep 21, 2011
Isole - Born From Shadows ...
Their studio output though, got off to a shaky start in my opinion with the début, 'Forevermore' released in 2005 but then they turned it all around for a stellar release, the following year with the 'Throne of Void' album. That album got compared to the likes of Solstice and Candlemass but they also had their own, unique individuality. From 2006 onwards, they have been on a bit of a roll. Great albums in 2008 and 2009 with 'Bliss of Solitude' and 'Silent Ruins' and then they went a bit quiet apart from a split release they did with Semlah in 2010. So I have looked forward for a new full-length album for too long now but the promo arrived in my inbox and I couldn't be happier. This album titled 'Born From Shadows' is another high-quality release from a band that can't seem to do no wrong. The band has always worn its influences on their sleeves and are proud of it. This album doesn't really change that fact either. The band is still in the vein of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus but personally I hope they never change. While there is many more original bands in the doom-metal scene, there is few as constantly good as Isole.
Isole are text-book traditional doom-metal, no more, no less and if you are an experienced listener of trad-doom bands, then you will know exactly what to expect but what sets Isole head and shoulders above many others is their use of compelling, haunting melodies that have been the focus of most of their albums so far. This album is no different but the melodies seem even more captivating and dare I say, infectious on this record. Of course, people who are not in love with the doom genre in the same way as me and many readers of Doommantia wouldn't understand the use of the term "infectious" when describing a 'doom act' but there is a certain, almost indefinable something that great doom-metal bands have, that black, death and thrash bands just don't and never will. Isole are a perfect example of this musical phenomenon; simply put, the riffs, melodies and vocals send a chill up the spine and are emotionally gut-wrenching.
They have a spectacular vocalist and guitarist in Daniel Bryntse who sings in the Rob Lowe tradition and does it with total emotion. He also has the uncanny knack of conveying the mournful sadness needed to sell a melancholic doom tune. But vocals aside for a while, what about the music on this album? There is 7 songs, mostly epic with most ranging from 7 to 10 minutes and it has no real filler. It does have a couple of passages that drag but these are short-lived and a minor disruption to this very solid album. The musicianship is excellent as always but they sound even more sophisticated now. The guitar work could be considered 'generic' in doom terms but the strong melodies and variations within each song keeps this album interesting.
Isole are 100% doom-metal but they do bring in elements of more extreme styles of metal in small but very effective doses. Of course, you get the death growls - pretty typical for doom bands these days but there is also black-metal tinged riffing in places too but never once does it sound like a hybrid of styles, it still reeks of crushing doom with melody. Even when the drumming picks up the pace, it still sounds like a doom band even though some of the drumming is actually pretty fast. On the other side of the coin, they are not afraid in blend in goth elements that are similar to My Dying Bride; so it is a fairly diverse album overall. These songs are mostly straight-forward in the traditional sense but they also have more complex, proggy elements, although it took a couple of spins before I really became aware of the songs intricacies. This album takes a few spins before you can really get to know it and appreciate it fully.
Highlights: 'The Lake,' 'Black Hours,' 'My Angel' and the title track, 'Born From Shadows' but really, every track is very good. Fans of classic traditional doom-metal should find this a worthy addition to their collection. The official release date is October 28th and is going to be on the Napalm Records label - mark it on your calendars now.................9/10.
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