Isole - Silent Ruins
Napalm Records
Epic Doom Metal
7 songs (53:55)
Release year: 2009
Isole, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Pete

Silent Ruins is the fourth studio album by this prolific Swedish band that seem to churn out their style of epic doom metal with frightening regularity. Their previous album, Bliss Of Solitude, was released in January 2008 and here we are in March 2009 and Isole has already given the metal scene another hour of misery-draped mastery. For those new to Isole they're the doom metal that has similar connotations with Candlemass, Funeral and Solitude Aeturnus rather than the neatly packaged Paradise Lost or the super doom of Reverend Bizarre. Expect long, almost mesmerising tunes that meander out of the speakers drawing you in without having any hooks or catchy riffs at their disposal. They're like a siren calling out to the metal ears that will listen, seducing them with slow hypnotic beats and almost chanted vocals.

Not many bands can pull off an eleven-minute opener but Isole manage it with ease with From The Dark. Its huge chord driven start soon makes way for one of the more mid tempo ideas on the album. The song soon weaves its way into different time signatures and adds horns and vocal chanting, that borders on guttural, without taking a breath. The whole song is pieced together so seamlessly that you don't notice the changes at first. Only when you start to analyse the song and break it down into sections that you realise what a clever piece of composition it is.

A highlight on this disc is the consistent use of clean vocals. Imagine a doomier version of November's Doom without the growl and you'll get a feel of Daniel Bryntse's voice. His simple melodies are effective and resist the temptation to fit too many words into his lyrics. Instead he lets his voice soar over the lush and warm production. The 4:00 mark in Forlorn is a gorgeous section when Bryntse's uses his low voice with harmonies and extra reverb. Hollow Shrine is one of the best chunks of doom I've heard in a while that includes a reserved but highly expressive performance from drummer, Jonas Lindstrom.

Sometimes with doom metal the band can get caught up with their own melancholy and deliver song after song of depressing music each indistinguishable from the last. Isole has avoided this on Silent Ruins. This is largely due to the slight change in structure to Soulscarred and the acoustically driven Peccatum. Both tracks break up the waves of doom making it easier, even for the part-time doomers, to digest the whole album. Silent Ruins ends like it began with an eleven-minute epic. Dark Clouds is breathtaking and is like a summary of all the songs that have preceded it, although the ending does come across as being a little drawn out.

For some reason this album reminds of Opeth's 'Still Life'. Not necessarily in sound or style but more of a platform where the band can start to build a bigger fan base. This is a great place to start for those who are yet to sample the misery of Isole because if you like Silent Ruins then there's a back catalogue to plunder. I would argue this is their strongest effort but not much has changed in the Isole camp. Their sound and style of song writing hasn't change much, but why should it? They've found their niche and are sticking to it. For a band that can churn out albums on a regular basis this isn't a bad thing. One day the band will have to progress but this is sometime in the future. In the meantime it's almost bliss to revel in their musical sorrow.

Killing Songs :
From The Dark, Forlorn, Hollow Shrine, Soulscarred
Pete quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Isole that we have reviewed:
Isole - Born From Shadows reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
Isole - Bliss of Solitude reviewed by Adam and quoted 86 / 100
Isole - Forevermore reviewed by Dee and quoted 85 / 100
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