Now You Know: The Isolation ProcessWednesday, 26th February 2014
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Style: Post-metal, buffered with sludge, topped off with harmonious clean vocals
Personnel: Thomas Henriksson (guitars, vocals); Anders Carlström (bass); Patrik Juutilainen (drums)
Latest Release: The Isolation Process (Version Studio Records)
Artistic burnout led to the dissolution of one act, but the creation of another for the trio that comprises of Sweden’s The Isolation Process. Three of the four members did time in unsung Swedish post-rock ensemble Lingua, who called it a day in 2012 after 12 years of wear-and-tear. With guitarist Misha looking to pursue other interests in life, coupled with the consensus among the remaining members that it was time for something new, Lingua quickly gave way to The Isolation Process, who should easily strike a chord with the fully-realized sect that cling onto luminaries such as Cult of Luna, Ghost Brigade, Isis, and even Katatonia.
“Truth to be told, he wasn’t the only one feeling that way or had a hard time to find motivation,” begins Thomas Henrikkson when asked how the transition from Lingua to The Isolation Process was cemented. “I recorded and mixed [Lingua’s] All My Rivals Are Imaginary Ghosts, and looking back at it, [it] was a big mistake for my part. Took us a good year to complete and I can say I was pretty fed up and had a hard time enjoy playing those songs, or any songs for that matter. So in retrospect for me, I had to bury Lingua to move on. Fortunately, the creation of something new which came to be The Isolation Process, got the fire burning again and my motivation was back.”
The band quickly gathered ideas for songs that would make up their self-titled debut, which saw the light of day in early January of this year. Helping in its creation is the power-trio setup, which boats numerous advantages, like fewer cooks in the kitchen. “It’s less people in the decision making, less gear, less of everything,” enthuses Henriksson. “But the three of us has been playing for almost 14 years together so I can’t say that I really have noticed that much difference, yet.”
A familiar location – Garaget Studios – was the location of choice for the new album recordings. Lingua had previously recorded there, thus providing the band with a much-needed level of comfort to record the debut.
“The recording process was a lot of fun, rather effortless,” adds Henriksson. “The core of the album was recorded at Garaget Studio, but also a lot tracked in our own studio/rehearsal [space], like all the vocal dubs, layers, etc., including guitar and bass DI’s that later came to be re-amped at Garaget Studio. ‘Sick As a Dog,’ the lead vocals, were recorded over two days there with a lot of laughs, beers and whisky to pull through and to ignore sore vocal chords and a sinus infection. [Engineer] Michael Nordström is always a blast to work with, since we all go way back it’s very relaxed and creative He has a good objective ear and contributed a lot. Magnus Lindberg did a awesome job mastering it too.”
Henriksson’s clean vocals – a rare happening in the post metal world – come to serve as the main sonic separator when discussion looms on The Isolation Process. Whereas most vocalists of this ilk are content to grunt their way through sparse vocal sections, Henriksson successfully picks his melodic spots, turning cuts like “Underneath it All” and “Nothing to Collect” into instant winners.
“The vocal style I apply has everything to do with the song, or how I approach it,” admits the singer. “For instance on ‘It Will Burn,’ which is a more typical sludge machine, but I still had this feeling of despair over the verses that I wanted to translate into the vocals to get it right. Contrasts are beautiful in my opinion, so I’m gonna keep experimenting.”
The band’s 2014 plans will hopefully include some live dates, but imminent plans detail songwriting for album #2, and more importantly, establishing The Isolation Process as a singular body, not a take-off of Lingua. As we wrap with Henriksson, he admits that forming a new band in this climate can be daunting, but of course, exciting.
“Sure, we can namedrop Lingua all that we want for promotion purposes but it’s not the same,” he wraps. “I’d rather see The Isolation Process carry its own weight.”