Isole - Bliss of Solitude
Napalm Records
Epic Doom Metal
7 songs (57'43")
Release year: 2008
Isole, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Adam
Since releasing their debut album, Forevermore in 2005, Sweden's Isole have been ascending the ranks of traditional doom bands, approaching those whom they owe the bulk of their influence to, namely Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus. For me, their second album, Throne of Void, was an improvement on the debut, which was very good in its own right. With 2008's Bliss of Solitude, Isole have unleashed their best effort yet. If you have not had the pleasure of hearing the serene and epic sounds of this band previously, this is as good a place as any to start.

The opening track, By Blood, is quite an ambitious 8 minutes. The earlier riffing sounds very modern doomdeath, that is, until Daniel Bryntse calmly echoes his amazing vocals around 2 minutes in. If you are new to this band, Bryntse's vocals are clearly the highlight. They have a chanting effect that is equal parts calm, epic, and strangely medieval. At times, they are similar to the vocal style used by Funeral on their most recent album. The pace is almost universally slow and devastating, as Isole aims to squeeze the most sorrowful sound possible out of their instruments. Bassist Henka gets a rare opportunity to show off his death metal screams, and they work well to incorporate variation into the lengthy affair.

Bliss of Solitude is a barrage of amazing doom, at least for the first four songs. The second track, From Clouded Sky, repeats a tradeoff of Bryntse's cryptic chants with a driving riff march that will have you nodding your head. You would think this would get old after 6 minutes, but for me it did not. In fact, this remains my favorite track on the album after repeated listens. Imprisoned in Sorrow begins with a soft acoustic guitar passage leading into some of the heavier riffing on the album, aided by bass drum rolls in sections. The title track is Bryntse's best vocal performance on the album. His voice is so calm, yet so powerful. The vocal melodies and harmonies are absolutely divine, and some of the better you will hear in doom.

As I alluded to earlier, my biggest complaint with this album is the that the last three songs are mostly unmemorable. Each has great moments, particularly in the vocal department, but all pale in comparison to the majesty of the first four. It is hard for me to conclude whether this is the result of familiarity becoming a factor (which is possible since the song types and structures are similar) or just a drop off in quality. Of the three, Dying is the best, as it makes the best use of Bryntse and does not feel overly long as the other two do.

If you consider yourself a fan of Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus, Bliss of Solitude should be your next purchase. An amazing display of the sorrowful sound that can be gleaned from properly constructed doom, Isole have nearly perfected their epic sound. I suspect their next album will be yet another improvement.
Killing Songs :
By Blood, Imprisoned in Sorrow, Bliss of Solitude
Adam quoted 86 / 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 - Forevermore reviewed by Dee and quoted 85 / 100
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