Sweden’s ISOLE have taken the Doom world by storm since they released their debut album “Forevermore” in 2005, with their epic kind of slow-motion Metal and after two albums with Swedish I Hate Records, they now switched to the bigger boys of Napalm Records and they definitely deserve the wider recognition they should be able to garner with their latest effort “Bliss Of Solitude”. And if you loved the previous two albums, then you should love these seven songs as well.
Anyways, for some unknown reason, this is one of those reviews that I’m having a hard time getting something to paper, I know that I really enjoy the album, but when it comes to more or less clever things to write, my mind goes blank, every reviewer’s nightmare – writer’s block. Now despite the band only having been founded in 2005, the members are far from being newbies, mainman Daniel Bryntse has been around for at least a decade with bands such as FORLORN (who basically was the earlier incarnation of ISOLE), WINDWALKER, WITHERED BEAUTY or EREB ALTOR and all the other members also have been in at least one of said bands with him, so this is a unit that knows each other very well.
The sound is, as mentioned, somewhat epic Doom Metal, roughly standing somewhere between CANDLEMASS and SOLITUDE AETURNUS, but at the same time not, there’s something swinging in the songs that sets them apart, even though it is something intangible, something that I fail to put into words every time I try. Let me try to take opener “By Blood” as example for how ISOLE work. Obviously the tempo is mostly slow to very slow, but they also add double-bass to the doomy mélange, together with melancholic melodies and, and this is one thing where many Doom bands fail, dynamic progression within the song, rising in intensity or breaking down to light rhythm, bass and a little guitar to accompany the voice, whatever the song needs. And speaking of the vocals, they are melodic and smooth, not sticking out of the overall sound, but rather being embedded into it, adding an almost mystic, chanting touch to the composition, with some accentuating growls thrown in for good measure.
And while other songs form a strong cohesion to this mighty slab of Doom, they do not sound alike, as the Swedes masterfully mix things up in different ways, in the vocals, in the intensity, in the melodies, keeping things at a very high level, setting a benchmark for Doom for the year and trust me, it will be hard to top this within this genre! Despite all songs being of exceptionally high quality, there is one track that stands out further than the rest, this being “Aska”, which looms over you like a monolith, keeping you in its shadow until the sun has set and the night engulfs you...
But enough metaphors, “Bliss Of Solitude” is one of the year’s highlights in Doom, maybe the best one, it will be hard to top and if you like it slow and epic, then ISOLE definitely is the way to go!
(Online June 9, 2008)