Thursday, January 03, 2008

Isole - Bliss of Solitude (Napalm - 2008)

I thoroughly enjoyed Throne of Void, the 2006 album by Sweden's Isole on the always interesting I Hate Records. I Hate has impeccable taste when it comes to all manner of doom metal, and Isole, while not as down and dirty as some bands on the I Hate roster, can hold their own with any group of gloom-mongers and are worthy in all respects when it comes to making memorable epic doom. It's possible I'm too easy on bands that remind me of the 90's heyday of U.K. doom a la My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Cathedral, etc. I live for that stuff. Isole make no bones about their worship of Candlemass and other 80's and 90's masters. And Throne of Void definitely struck me as well-made homage. (Isole have been around forever, however. And I came to them late. They used to be known as Forlorn before changing their name to Isole. So, in a sense, they are pioneers as much as anyone else who started playing in the early 90's.) Anyway, I love the new album - on new bigger label Napalm - Bliss of Solitude so much, that I'm definitely going to re-investigate Throne of Void and try and find a copy of Forevermore, their 2005 album that I've never heard. Bliss is just so solid and massive. The production is, for the most part, strong and complimentary. Good doom is only as good as the sound of the guitars you build your doom castle with, and Isole make their six-strings sing sweetly as well as dig deep for that unholy bottom that hardly anyone ever reaches. That's the goal, really. To get to the bottom. Many have tried to prove that they're slower and they didn't last and they died as they tried. Doom metal will live forever simply to give new generations a chance to reach the bottom. Isn't that sweet? On Bliss, Isole have definitely outlived and outlasted the comparisons to Solitude Aeternus and Candlemass. They are their own distinct entity. And Bliss is very much a MODERN epic doom album. My 90's nostalgia is rarely fed while listening. Oh, it's all there somewhere. But album-opener "By Blood" is so immediately exciting and gratifying and so very NOW that nostalgia is the last thing I feel when it's playing. And it's been playing a LOT at my house. Isole have made a career album. This is a band that knows EXACTLY what they are doing and what their strengths are as a unit. This is satisfying, professional, uncompromising, and HEAVY music.


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