Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: Isole - Born from Shadows (2011)

Isole [Website | Facebook | MySpace]
Born from Shadows

Isole - Born from Shadows
For the better part of a decade, Sweden's Isole has released albums of consistently epic doom that fully embrace the standards set by fellow countrymen Candlemass, though never drifting too close to their influences to be considered a clone outfit. While their sound, particularly on their latest release Born from Shadows, is stirringly grandiose, the band dabbles with just enough progressive and extreme elements to set themselves apart from the mighty forces of doom that have previously impacted the metal world.

The most engaging component of Isole's sound is the truly forlorn vocal performance by Daniel Bryntse. The atmosphere of hopelessness and despair crafted by the monumental riffs and pulsating bass is amplified by Bryntse's flawless voice which sometimes flirts with an operatic tone, but always fits the mood perfectly. One way in which Isole breaks the mold of traditional epic doom is through the use of vocal variation, courtesy of bassist Henka (Henrik Lindenmo). At various points throughout Born from Shadows, such as the title track and album opener track "The Lake", Henka adds some harsh vocals to the band's sound. His blackened shrieks and gurgling growls bring to mind the doom/death sound pioneered by the likes of My Dying Bride and Katatonia, adding yet another dimension to Isole's style.

The proficiency of the guitar work by Bryntse and Crister Olsson is the glue that holds Born from Shadows together, with riffs that are most often grandly depressive but do occasionally venture into a nicely uptempo groove (such as on "Come To Me"). The dark, ominous tone that permeates the album isn't without flash, however. "Black Hours" opens with a crazy Blackmore-esque solo, while the title track showcases dummer Jonas Lindström's notable skill behind the kit.

The lush production, polished musicianship, and interesting enhancements to the core sound employed by Isole keep the album engaging throughout its nearly 60-minute run time, making Born from Shadows a solid album of traditionally inspired epic doom that fans of the style will certainly enjoy.

Track Listing
1The Lake7:14
2Black Hours7:12
3Born from Shadows9:29
4Come To Me6:50
5My Angel10:33
7When All Is Black5:28
Total Runtime55:37

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