Born From Shadows

Written by: EW on 19/01/2012 23:27:25

I have given a number of listens, and taken much time in deciding upon on my exact stance with this the latest album from Swedish doomsters Isole, "Born From Shadows". 2009's "Silent Ruins" was, and still is, a great record built upon the epic feel of Candlemass and While Heaven Wept without really giving much attempt to move doom metal forward into any new territories. It was, essentially, merely a very good attempt by Isole to spin the decades-old doom template into their own yarn. "Born From Shadows" quite predictably follows the same template but falls further onto the 'heard-it-all-before' side of the fence where a spot of 'ooh, this is something new' would not have gone amiss.

Seven songs, five topping seven minutes for 55 minutes of adherence to the strictures of the true doom template, laid out in excess by 21st doomsters Reverend Bizarre and the like. The 9-minute title-track is the perfect showpiece for this sound of Isole, intertwining plodding slowness with relative speed, soft grandiose synth backing and a pairing of clean, Quorthon-esque vocals with grizzly bellowing growls. It's all there for you and frankly if by it's conclusion you're sick of the permeating negative vibe we can probably say doom isn't for you. "Come To Me" opens with the drama of While Heaven Wept all over it but it's majority, like opener "The Lake", is built around a strong, catchy middle section low on complexity but easy on the kind of likability that marks Isole as a strong B-league doom band of today. By the time "Condemned" and "When All Is Black" roll round to close out the album the feeling of repetition in song moods becomes an over-riding factor in limiting my enjoyment to those morose closers, tracks which at times verge into My Dying Bride levels of mournful despondency, save at least for the weeping violin and tender heartstrings of the British legends and their finest moments.

Isole do not grate with the kind of amateurism often seen in underground acts but the granite weight of genre-leading doom, as perhaps last shown by Procession seems tantalisingly out of the Swedes grasp here, for on "Born From Shadows" they have begun to rely too heavily on their own established cliches. Let's be thankful, however, the music is at least is one up on that awfully dull and generic cover.

Download: Come To Me, Born From Shadows
For The Fans Of: Candlemass, While Heaven Wept, Procession
Listen: Myspace

Original release date: 28.10.2011
Napalm Records

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