Isole - _Silent Ruins_
(Napalm Records, 2009)
by: Alexandra Erickson (
Melancholic, mournful and melodic. No alliteration intended, it's just the emotional response this album invokes. Isole are fast becoming giants in doom and their latest effort, _Silent Ruins_, helps further cement their position as leaders of the pack.Absolutely agonized vocals from their stellar frontman, Daniel Bryntse, are the icing on the cake. In a genre that is dominated so strongly by unique vocalists that have been at their game for at least a few decades on average (see: Candlemass & Messiah Marcolin, Solitude Aeturnus & Rob Lowe, St Vitus & Wino), Bryntse without hesitation plants his feet on the ground and establishes himself as a vocalist with passion, power and the ability to lend the instrumentals the pipes needed to help Isole stand out and make headway in their genre.The production quality has always been key to Isole's releases, and the cleanliness, even through the distorted instruments, is again central on this album. Melodies aloft mired, slow, sludgy sessions are a hallmark of this band. Even though they're typified as traditional, epic doom metal, they still have a unique sound. While I'd be ready to attribute the different ambience to the vocal stylings alone, the exquisite guitars of Crister Olsson (also showcased in Isole's sister band, Ereb Altor) help this band tremendously. They, like Ereb Altor, have a strong Bathory influence, the mournful chants and down-tuned harmonies that abound are reminiscent of _The Return..._.The ability the entirety of Isole have to work as one organic unit, to make their obvious long nights in the studio pay off, is what stands out more than anything on any of their albums, and shines even brighter on _Silent Ruins_. Traditional doom with a seemingly Swedish tinge of more melody perhaps, whatever it is, they're doing it beautifully and I couldn't be happier with this latest effort. They have matured beyond their previous albums but managed to stay shoulder to shoulder with their established sound. Slow, down-tuned, epic vocals, lightning fast guitar finger-work showcased at precisely the right times, lyrics that genuinely make you stop and take notice. I would say I'm looking forward to what they come up with next, but honestly, I'm perfectly happy with where they are right now and with this album.
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