Island
Orakel


4.5
superb

Review

by Crimson USER (60 Reviews)
May 17th, 2008 | 93 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It seems the year of 08 belongs to progressive death metal

Island are a band which have a sound all of their own, they mix death metal, post rock, ambience and even a sprinkling of jazz into one unique package that refuses to settle down. Moments of pure beauty go hand in hand with crushingly heavy guitars and the hoarse growls of the vocalist, and a simple verse can quickly break down into a jazzy section in a moment. The keyboards throughout gives Orakel a sort of dream like quality and a certain beauty that contrast the heaviness in a way that I have never heard before. Island are a lot different from your usual progressive death metal band, whereas most merely have a soft side and a heavy side, Island somehow make their heavy side beautiful at the best moments, and make their soft side haunting and powerful.

Indeed, one listen to the opening track, Journey Through The Jewel, and you know something special is in the works. It just highlights what the band do so well. The first third, crushingly heavy in it’s execution; Dominating guitars, hoarse, bellowed vocals, a wonderful groove and unrelenting drums. But then, just as the heaviness seems to be getting a bit repetitive in it’s use, everything stops. The keyboards begin playing a haunting melody, the bass takes center stage, everything has slowed down, it is only as you are being drawn into that when the guitars come and take over again, but playing the same melody that the keyboards were, highlighting it’s beauty in a way that is simply out of this world, it is impossible not to be drawn into the charm and grandiose of this song when it gets going, but then, just for good measure, the band get incredibly heavy at the end, reintroducing the vocals and pushing the intensity up to it’s fullest, ending on a breathtaking note.

After that, you can simply enjoy what the rest of the album has to offer, each song with so many different breaks and moments that it can be hard to keep track of in one sitting. Executing an almost jazzy breakdown in some songs gives Orakel an unpredictable and exciting flair, one that a lot of other bands would love to have. At no point is the listener bored, at no point do you know for certain what is going to happen next. There is no formulated structure throughout the songs, no chorus, yet there is repetition used in it’s best form. Not overdone so that it gets tiring but used to keep the songs making sense, and stop them being too eccentric and all over the place. It is a strong point of the band that they can keep each song from developing into an unorganised mess and give them all with an identity all of their own.

Vocally, the album has two styles, the death metal bellow used in the heavy moments to the subdued, Katatonia-esqu clean vocals that give it even more of a haunting atmosphere. This is definitely not a vocally dominated album though, as in a fair few of the songs you don’t even get to hear them that much. Really, the true highlight is the guitars and keyboards, from the crushing simplistic riffs that are used to the epic melodies that go hand in hand with the wonderful keyboards. Acoustic guitars are used a lot in the album, though when they are, it is hard to distinguish anyway, as they fit in so well with the heaviness that you won’t place any emphasis on them as you listen. The transitions between everything the band has to offer are quite seamless, and it makes for a wonderful disjointed listen that you can relax to and enjoy. Orakel is a fully acoustic track which makes for a good break-up between the heaviest side of the album and the two more experimental tracks in the middle (Serenity in particular features almost every aspect of their sound), and then you have the untitled seventh track, which is fully electronic. After this, the album gets a lot softer (but no less experimental), featuring almost zero death metal growls and more melodic riffs, it certainly is a change of pace from the beginning, but one that the band manage to pull off just as well, with tracks like The White Ghoul featuring a leading melody that might make your skin crawl and an added emphasis on the groovy basslines.

I can’t really recommend any particular track to listen to, as each and every one offers something different, this is an album that you should listen to complete in order to get the most out of it. Island are a promising young band, and one that look set for big things. Island have released a gem of an album in Orakel, one that displays a wonderful sense of experimentation and creative flair. These guys certainly don’t play anything that you’ve heard before, but what they have done is made an album worthy of attention. It’s hard to put into words what sort of music these guys play, but it doesn’t matter, once you’re done listening you will be speechless anyway.



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user ratings (30)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crimson
April 6th 2008


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of my favourite releases this year so far.

kmagnum1x
April 6th 2008


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Got this with my agalloch white ep, both amazing cds

Crimson
April 6th 2008


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool, rating? Any thoughts on the review?

kmagnum1x
April 6th 2008


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, basically my exact opinion on the album

4.5 for me as well, it's a grower

Crimson
April 6th 2008


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome, definitely a grower too, it just doesn't get old. Opeth have some serious competition in their genre this year.This Message Edited On 04.06.08

kmagnum1x
April 6th 2008


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can't wait to see what Opeth brings to the table

Metalikane
April 6th 2008


851 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds pretty good. Nice review.

DWittisarockstar
April 6th 2008


1501 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, especially the first paragraph which didn't have a 6 line sentence like your In Mourning review.

pos.

willfellmarsy
April 6th 2008


3849 Comments


Great review as for usual...i just love how your reviews always let me know exactly what im in store for upon listening...although your change in avatar makes me forget it's you. Definately going to check out these guys in the near future after i stp checking out other works from other great bands like Disillusion and Edge of Sanity.
I wonder who's recommendation got me into those as well???

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 7th 2008


3742 Comments


Good review, album looks interesting actually.

Crimson
April 7th 2008


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, especially the first paragraph which didn't have a 6 line sentence like your In Mourning review.
Erm, thanks... I suppose.

Good review, album looks interesting actually.
I think you might actually like this, they do have a bit of a Sonic Youth feel to them in the softer parts.

Comments: 1000

Nice, I'm not posting anything else, ever :PThis Message Edited On 04.07.08

Poet
April 7th 2008


5933 Comments


Good review

The keyboards throughout gives Orakel a sort of dream like quality and a certain beauty that contrast the heaviness in a way that I have never heard before

This alone makes me want to check this out.

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2008


15976 Comments


Another great review... I'll have to look into this later in the week.

Digging: Necropoli - I

hermitspancho
April 7th 2008


278 Comments


It seems the year of 08 belongs to Progressive Death Metal


I certainly hope so!

jrowa001
April 7th 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this looks really good, im going to look for it in a few.

you should look into Unreal Overflows and Gwynbleidd

DBlitz
April 8th 2008


1690 Comments


Excellent review Crimson, started to listen to it, and its pretty good so far.

Metalikane
April 8th 2008


851 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I blindly ordered this last night due to all of the positive reviews I've read, so I hope it doesn't disappoint. I'm going to try and not listen to any of their songs 'til I get it so hopefully I'm surprised by how insanely awesome it is.

kmagnum1x
April 8th 2008


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

These guys will put out a classic album one day

DBlitz
April 8th 2008


1690 Comments


I like it when there are no vocals, I don't really enjoy his vocals (might get used to it) but its just awesome when its just instruments.

AngelPhoenix
April 8th 2008


2764 Comments


^^^I'm like that with most metal lol
Nother killer review Crimson, can't believe I almost missed this. Gonna check this out immediately, sounds right up my alley.

Crimson, what do you like better, this or Shrouded Divine (they seem semi-similar just from your description)???



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