Isenordal - Shores of Mourning
Self released
Blackened Doom with Folk overtones
6 songs (48'17")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Don’t you love it when good things come to you when you completely don’t expect them? Not that the blackened doom with folk melodies labeling of Isenordal Shores of Mourning was something that lowered expectations. Not at all. It is just for some reason on the day before I heard this full-length debut from a Seatlle, Washington, band, and even a few days prior to then, everything new I was plugging in from my promo pile was a complete or near miss. So I was very much subdued into a ho-hum regime just looking for an album I could write a decent review about to call it a week. And then Shores of Mourning came … and changed everything.

The gentle lap of waves of the title track, its piano/cello intro and a beautiful calm melody, only the hint of harsh vocals betray the storm to come. And the storm that does eventually arrive is indeed that of distinct mourning in terms of character. Gradually, yet at the same time noticeably, the title track grows from Worm Ouroboros to Novembers Doom, everything just becomes so hopelessly heavy, until Isenordal discovers double bass and ultimately blast plunging to where they probably want to be, deep into Cascadian black metal, yet with abundant folk rooted melodies. Lovely, but sad, rain dissolves the track in the end, female vocals help to bring peace, and once the opening title track was over I knew two things. One – I wanted more of Isenordal, two – their regionmates Wolves in the Throne Room should not be ashamed to invite Isenordal to the farm to share views on life.

No song on Shores of Mourning disappoints thereafter. There is no letdown here. Isenordal has an absolute knack of buildup. It is rare, in fact I can’t remember an album or a band, where song after song (Pyres at Nightfall, To Tear the Veil of Dreams, and of course the aforementioned title track) opened up with a stunning soft intro only to grow to ominous heights Pyres at Nightfall, depraved harmonies (To Tear the Veil of Dreams) or cosmic observations (A Gallows Prayer) so organically. I came almost to expect an intro and full buildup from Isenordal, and it was never forced or contrived. Only probably Of Winged Fire and Crawling Shadow is the more straightforward atmospheric black metal with evil troll vocals and predatory riffs, but even this track yields to suffering cello and funeral doom in the end. And so goes on Isenordal alternating brooding doom, fiery black metal, cello and violin, always resolving the track outcomes in emotional ways, and it is the true honest emotion which cannot be lost on any listener, and which completely rules the roost on Shores of Mourning. This one is worthy of your day whether rain is falling in sheets or sun is shining pleasantly.

Killing Songs :
I truly loved all of them
Alex quoted 95 / 100
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