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Isole - Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon
by Max Elias at 07 August 2019, 9:53 PM

ISOLE describe themselves as epic Doom Metal, and refreshingly, that does not mean grindingly slow, almost pompously grandiose wailing. It means stomping, churning riffs and haunting melodies. "Beyond the Horizon" for one is full of eerie licks and manages to sound evil without sounding monotonous. The guitar lines soar through the mix, and the vocals are a mid-ranged wail that don’t overpower the riffing or sound too nasally (looking at you, PAGAN ALTAR). The riff at 5:20 doesn’t even sound like Doom Metal, but those outside influences work wonders in making this not sound like a too-long mashup of two riffs repeated over and over. In case it wasn’t clear, I normally don’t appreciate Doom Metal.

"Written In The Sand" slows things down and relies on cavernous chord work. The solo at 3:04 is a great example of why the band calls their brand of Doom ‘epic’; it is melodic, catchy, and strangely rousing. It’s an odd dichotomy since Doom is traditionally the opposite. There is a slight harmonic minor tinge to some of the riffs, especially towards the end of the song.

"The Beholder" starts with an unaccompanied clean guitar before embracing the encompassing, wall-of-sound riffs heard on "Written In The Sand". There is some more interesting drumming going on here, as they play around with syncopation a little. A snaky, darkly melodic riff comes in at the three-minute mark, which (in my opinion) is one of the best headbanging moments on the album. The solo is also the most technical thus far.

"You Went Away" starts with a screaming guitar melody that reminds me of "Musical Death" by TESTAMENT. A little before the two-minute mark, the song breaks into a tiny acoustic lull as a pre-chorus. The vocals are still morose, but the drums are actively forging ahead consistently; or maybe it’s feedback that makes it seems like people are playing more than they are. The song shifts into a clean section one last time before coming back with big riffs to finish the job.

Apart from the admittedly cool solo, there isn’t much on "Forged By Fear" that hasn’t been done already; the riffs sound just like other riffs and the vocals haven’t changed. "Galenskapens Land" is interesting because although it is still very much doom metal, it brings in folk elements in some of the melodies, and it opens acoustically. And then the last track "Nothingness", is standard for the band—it opens with a little under a minute of ambience and chanting, before becoming dominated by muscular slow riffs and occasional melodic touches.

Overall, better than the average Doom Metal release, with more to keep it interesting; although from the first song—my definite favorite—you would have gotten the impression that ‘epic’ meant ‘filled with guitar melodies’. I wish there were more melodies woven in with the riffing as it would have been a more varied and rewarding listen.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Beyond the Horizon
2. Written In the Sand
3. The Beholder
4. You Went Away
5. Forged By Fear
6. Galenskapens Land
7. Nothingness
Daniel Bryntse – Guitars / Vocals
Jimmy Matsson – Bass / Vocals
Crister Olsson – Guitars / Vocals
Victor Parri - Drums
Record Label: Hammerheart Records


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