Austere / Isolation - _Bleak..._
(Those Opposed, 2008)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (8 and 5 out of 10 respectively)
Even if you're completely new to the depressive metal niche, it won't take you more than 30 seconds to figure out these here bands draw inspiration from all things hopeless and morose. It's not just the great artwork that justifies the title of this album -- _Bleak..._ offers a generously lush portion of underground noise that easily invokes the right type of darkened atmosphere.

The opening three tracks by Australia's Austere are very similar to the band's debut _Withering Illusions and Desolation_: raw but well recorded mid-paced black metal, spacious song structures combining repetitive guitars, a thick, fuzzy wall of sound pierced by some of the most hillarious and therefore definitely kvlt shrieking vocals. The middle track is actually an instrumental bridging "When Even Tomorrow Looks Away" with the absolutely beautiful thirteen minute epic gloom of "There's Nothing Left", easily Austere's best recording yet.

While pairing the two bands might seem logical, as their approach and concept partly coincides, Isolation's material fails to impress after Austere's most hypnotizing start. The Germans are less black metal and more doom oriented (with some obvious Katatonia and My Dying Bride moments here and there), employing slow and rather standard melodic riffs plus rather out of tune clean vocals that we could have done without. Things start well enough with the somber acoustic guitars on "From Nowhere", but until the time you reach "...To Nowhere" these 30 minutes worth of music have turned into a dragging, plain unexciting experience. Keeping the attention of the listener throughout a sixteen minute track is a skill Isolation haven't mastered yet.


(article published 24/10/2008)

10/24/2008 N Shahpazov 7.5 Austere - Withering Illusions and Desolation
11/21/2007 Q Kalis 4.5 Isolation - Hier am Ende der Welt
2/4/2007 Q Kalis 4.5 Isolation - A Prayer for the World to End
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