I have been quite close to the music of ISOLE since day one. Their 2004 reformation, as they were leaving behind their FORLORN days, actually meant a lot to a bunch of people quite focused on the very small Epic Doom Metal scene back then.
It was actually an era when mainly the back then active traditional Doom Metal scene begun to achieve some more attention around the underground. Even some wider Metal audiences got to know bands like REVEREND BIZARRE and their clones who have started to take shape. The more clones to be around, the more important became the existence of new bands under an artistic vision, bands that would focus on music and not on a “true”, “cult” and “occult” packing hoping to get the same attention that their mentors managed to. Well, ISOLE‘s “Forevermore” debut was just filling this gab. Artistic and inspired Epic Doom Metal, carrying this Scandinavian melancholy -so familiar to those familiar with the FORLORN demos- and totally based to the excellent songwriting, this album set quite big standards for the band.
Fourteen years have passed since the 2005 of this debut. ISOLE have been fully active since then. They have released seven full length albums in total -including this very last one-. So lets face some facts that are happening all those years into the ISOLE universe:
Well, it is obvious that their most important feature all those years -and through all those records- is their song writing: Their ability to create small Doom Metal anthems that would wait in the shadows for the listener to return to them.
The band have also successfully used many elements from different Doom Metal sub genres -especially 90s British or Scandinavian Doom / Death touches-, attaching them on their songs. The result would sound solid and interesting. You can study their releases from the third album and bellow and you would understand my point.
Having all those in mind, someone may ask two questions: First of all: Has the band managed to stay on the high standards that they have set for their own music during all those years and all those records? Secondly: Is the “Dystopia” album that is released five years after the previous “The Calm Hunter” (2014) a worth the waiting album?
The first question can be answered by anyone of you who follows the band closely. My personal opinion and answer is that the band never released a weak record, but I personally was on the extreme need -especially after their 2011 “Born from Shadows” release-, for an ISOLE record that would blow me away totally. and guess what! “Dystopia” is THAT album!
In my opinion they did very well, letting a huge amount of time to pass since their last album. Five years full of new ideas that eventually turned to amazing songs, and OK… a plenty of time to work on those ideas. Right?
With “Dystopia” the band sets their song writing standards in very high levels again. They are delivering a deep, esoteric album which if focused on the Epic Doom Metal vibe nut it goes much more further than this. Yes all the classic ISOLE features that made this band huge are here.
The characteristic melodic vocal lines of Crister Olsson and Daniel Bryntse are here. You would listen to them and instantly think “yes this is ISOLE“. Melodic, mournful, deep, esoteric and a little minimal sometimes. As usual.
Crister and Daniel are once again delivering this very extensive guitar work that combines the Epic Doom Metal with the overall Scandinavian musical darkness plus the British Doom and Doom / Death tombstone riffing in slow and faster tempos. They would leave some room for some more esoteric minimalism into all this.
The Doom / Death parts rule in this album.
All the seven songs i here are long, they last from six to eight minutes. However they are so well developed that you would simply not realize the time passing as you are listening to them.
The fast, epic moments of this record are simply amazing. Yes, despite all the different -but so well combined- musical elements we have in here the overall result is epic!
A huge smile for some lyric references that goes back to the FORLORN era, like my favorite “Tears of Loss” phrase on the “Forged by Fear” song.
To cut a long story sort. ISOLE have returned with an AMAZING album. I consider this record as one of the darkest they have ever released. And I am really happy cause I will have good company for the forthcoming winter. Well I can not complain, 2019 brought some amazing Epic Doom Metal albums on the foreground and this is for sure one of them.