Isole - Forevermore
We Hate Records
Epic Doom Metal
7 songs (59 Mins)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Dee

This is the debut album of Isole, a four piece band hailing from Sweden who have previously released a number of demos under the moniker Forlorn. Many similar bands would kill to produce a debut this solid.

The first track, "The Watcher" opens with a mid-paced heavy rock chug, over which a simple melody is drawn. It's not an opening that goes for the throat, but please do remember that what you'd consider to be mid-paced is very fast for doom. Before long you are introduced to the pleasant voice of Daniel Bryntse - not overly epic nor strangled, and certainly more relaxed a vocalist than you would have suspected. He makes the lyrics very clear indeed.

After "The Watcher" dies down, "Deceiver" takes over with a more menacing choice of notes and a more involved riffing style; this track certainly leads towards the power metal side of things, an effect reinforced by the introduction of double pedalling through an incredibly interesting and epic bridge section in which some interesting manipulation of tempo takes place.

"Age of Darkness" opens with some simple picked notes and almost immediately sucker-punches you with huge distortion. This is a behemoth of a track - slow in pace but containing great power. The guitars are playing in a very noticeable eastern style, playing a counter melody alongside the vocals and ending each phrase in a cadence that feels distinctly arabian. This track is particularly susceptible to the segmented songwriting that appears in epic doom but remains a strong composition throughout its many metamorphoses.

The title track opens most serenely and although this, like most of the album, is in a minor key, the first minute of "Forevermore" is incredibly calming. Perhaps this is because it has grown in the wake of "Age of Darkness". After that, a beautiful section approaches in which a short heavy section follows each time the word 'Forevermore' is uttered. Forgive me, my doomy and cryptic friends, but I feel that this could make an excellent single, and that it out-Opeths Opeth at their calmest.

Next comes "Premonitions", and we're back to the eastern scales again. The drummer, Jonas Lindstrom, has more to do this time - you realise just how well-suited and tasteful his drumming has been around here. This song is a powerful lament, and the feeling of loss is reflected in the lyrics which seem to mourn.. well, just about everything, really. Daniel's voice is also powerful on this one; indeed, if you are more interested in the technique of a band's members than the songs they compose, then this is the one you should investigate.

"Beyond the Black" is the first of two long compositions and is perhaps my favourite cut from the album. The band conscientiously take a long time to establish a riff and progression and then immediately switch to another, only for the first to return much later. The chords chosen are enough to evoke misery and isolation, and it is a pleasure that they take place in such a well-crafted song.

"Moonstone" is the concluding track, which promises to stretch to almost twelve minutes. It opens with a charming, minor folk song backed with strings, which a huge drum intro immediately blows out of the water, paving the way for a heroic riff which will massage the energy back into you after the cruel dirge that was "Beyond the Black". The segmented songwriting approach is back, at times leaving you gasping, hoping to catch a glimpse of a lighthouse in the midst of a thick storm (you spot the lighthouse at around the ninth minute) but the band never fails to impress you no matter where they choose to take the song.

This album has been a long time in preparation - ten years of demos and exhaustively fine-tuning each of these seven tracks, and it certainly made a difference, as there isn't a weak track on show. I'd recommend this not only to doom lover, who have undoubtedly already investigated it, but also to the fans of traditional heavy metal, and perhaps even to the power metal fans. There is a strong streak of true metal running through this one, and I'm not quite greedy enough to keep it to myself.

Killing Songs :
Forevermore, Beyond the Black, Moonstone
Dee quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Isole that we have reviewed:
Isole - Born From Shadows reviewed by Thomas and quoted 85 / 100
Isole - Silent Ruins reviewed by Pete and quoted 90 / 100
Isole - Bliss of Solitude reviewed by Adam and quoted 86 / 100
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