If you think doom metal to be nothing but depressing lyrics and vocals, minor keys, and tempos slower than a math competition run by Jessica Simpson, youíd probably be right. Doom metal is infamously notorious for being extremely listener-unfriendly, mainly for its plodding nature. Riffs are repeated an abundance of times, and the music makes you feel like youíll fall over in exhaustion at parts.
However, there are some doom bands that break this mold. Old My Dying Bride, newer Candlemass and some Cathedral are quite a bit more listenable; they have interesting song patterns and melodies, and untouchable vocals in places.
Isole falls into this pattern as well. A Swedish doom metal band, Isole released their first album in 2005, despite forming in 1990 under the name Forlorn. They released a few demos, and then went into ďhibernation" for a good portion of the 1990s, only to resurface again in 2003 under the name Isole. (I could not find any more information about this band anywhere, so pardon the extremely short biography).
Isole - Forevermore
- June 16, 2005, on I Hate Records
Bryntse - Lead Vocals/Guitars
Henka - Bass/Growls
Crister - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Jonas - Drums
Doom metal has so many subgenres itís hard to know whatís what. Funeral doom, death doom, the list goes on and on.
Isole makes it easy. They are straight up doom metal, plain and simple. Depressing guitar lines and vocals? Check. Slow tempos? Check. Long songs? Check.
What makes this band different from all the other doom metal bands out there, you may ask? Itís pretty simple. Isoleís songs may be long, but they donít drag on and on like memoirs of a bad acid trip. They will keep you hooked and listening. The guitars are heavy as hell, yet they turn the distortion off often. There are some beautiful, haunting clean parts throughout this album, as well as all out heavy parts. They contrast perfectly, making the songs seem like epic pieces of work (which they have every right to be).
Brynsteís vocals are quite good as well. There is almost no growling/screaming in this album, just clean vocals. His voice is very melancholic, and he has a decent range. Heís got some semilow vocals, and some semihigh ones, often falling into the midrange. His control is quite good as well, in many songs he holds notes for quite a long time.
The album only has 7 songs, yet none of them fall below 6 minutes (often traditional of doom metal). Actually, only 1 falls below 7 minutes...all of the songs are quite long masterpieces.
As a debut album, this is quite impressive. It is every bit as good (if not better) than albums released by doom metal bands that practically founded the genre. In an era where countless bands just follow the formulas set by their predecessors, Isole expands on the work of their predecessors, and makes doom metal enjoyable and listenable.
- Starts off a bit midpaced, then goes into classic doom style: slow as hell. Good riffing throughout the song, and the vocals are quite excellent as well.
- My personal favorite of the album, itís almost not a doom metal song at all. Itís suprisingly catchy, and has a riff that will get stuck in your head for hours on end. The solo is quite good as well.
- The albumís longest song, clocking in at a beastly 11:52, yet never seeming that long. Contains the albumís only growls, and almost mimics Cathedral in places. Itís quite a listen. Has a heartbreaking outro, almost; a very sad guitar line that is just brilliant.
- The debut album from the Swedish doom band is good. Very good. Breaks the mold of what doom metal is supposed to sound like, yet still sticks to the guidelines and manages to make something entirely enjoyable. Perfect for those just getting into doom metal, and even those who have listened to doom metal a lot will love this as well.
Final Rating - 9/10