ISOLE, the Swedish Traditional/Epic Doom Metal band, last released an album in 2009: “Silent Ruins”. See my review here. This was their fourth full-length, after “Forevermore” (2005), “Throne Of Void” (2006) and “Bliss Of Solitude” (2008). Each release being a must-have for fans of e.g. CANDLEMASS, SOLITUDE AETURNUS and similar. Before working on album no. 5, two members of ISOLE brought out the second album of their other Doom band, EREB ALTOR, under the title “The End” (2010, see the review here). The main difference is that EREB ALTOR’s lyrics deal with Nordic mythology.
Time then to focus again on ISOLE and the fifth release, “Born From Shadows”. This one came out on the 28th October 2011. The lyrics again deal with the mysteries of life and you can find that in the artwork, done by Gustavo Sazes: the two stones symbolize two opposites that finally come together to become one: darkness meets light, death meets life, and good meets evil. As before ISOLE recorded and mixed the album at Apocalypse. The mastering was in the hands of Jens Bogren (PARADISE LOST, OPETH, AMON AMARTH, SYMPHONY X, ENSLAVED, …), which you can clearly hear.
“Born From Shadows” is filled with longs songs, the shortest being 5:28 (“When All Is Black”), the longest 10:31 (“My Angel”). The album begins with “The Lake” and the main guitar line. Of course the music is dark, Doomy and atmospheric. The typical hymnic singing then falls in, gently, before full power is unleashed. The tempo remains low, inline with previous works. The chorus, however, is more active and features growling, which makes the whole sound almost like AMON AMARTH. The mastering by Jens Bogren certainly adds to the impression. Not that I have a problem with, not at all. Next is “Black Hours”, also a good 7 minutes long. Here the Doom is Bluesier, even slower and more hymnic. The melodic guitarwork stands out. Full power is again reserved for the chorus. This track offers a nice way of ebb and flood of the musical waves, I must say. The solo moment is dark and gloomy, to which the church bells contribute.
This brings us to the long title track. Here the Doom kicks in instantly. The atmosphere is again not of the happy kind, mainly because of the backing keyboards. But it’s well done and sounds very nice. The music grows in tempo and volume as the chorus nears, which is when the singing reverts to growling and the guitars also adapt their sound to it. They also sound more cutting here. The drums too become more active at that point. To not make this one massive stream of Doomness, the band threw in an atmospheric, Jazzy part that contrasts heavily with the heavier pieces. It’s afterwards that the attack breaks out with Thrashy drumming and the keyboards stressing the drama. All ends with the keyboards, similar to the intro. This reminded me a bit of DEPRESSED MODE.
“Come To Me” offers the typical Doom ingredients you can expect from ISOLE. It does get firmer once the song really has taken off. Ending occurs in slow- and melodicness. “My Angel” sets in with the piano. A sad melody is played, comparable to how the Norwegians from FUNERAL do it. And indeed, the grieving continues as the rest of the music is added. Both vocals and instruments are responsible for that. There is (again) a nice flowing between calm, clean parts and more powerful outbreaks. The mixing is well done, as the bass guitar also is audible and important for the rhythm. “Condemned” is business as usual, with dark and “weighing” Doom, while in the back you can hear light keyboard input. The growls are fierce and almost demonic! The tempo increases at some point to give the song a boost, while the chorus contrasts with atmospheric sadness. Last but not least, there’s “When All Is Black”, taking a powerful start, after which slower, Bluesy, clean verses are set in. The expected outbreak does kick in, but doesn’t alter the tempo. This one remains quite constant, even in the chorus. In the second half of the song, the keyboards become more important, especially when there’s no singing involved anymore.
ISOLE is one of my favourite Doom Metal bands, without question. Like I said in the beginning, each release is worth having. I had to listen to “Born From Shadows” a few times, as it’s not everyday that I listen to Doom, but it sure helped to discover the beauty of the songs and that once again the Swedes have made a very worthwile album. Therefore, I can only consider this one as well a must-have. End of story. 😉
- The Lake
- Black Hours
- Born from Shadows
- Come To Me
- My Angel
- When All Is Black
Daniel – vocals, guitars
Crister – guitars, vocals
Henrik – bass
Jonas – drums