Isenmor – Land of the Setting Sun (Self-Released)Thursday, 9th July 2015
Within the folk metal genre, there is usually a dividing line. The bands that take the genre more seriously by going in a more somber direction, and those that have a more party-oriented atmosphere. Not too many bands can say that they pander to both parties. Isenmor has the potential to do just that.
Part of Isenmor’s potential lies in its string section. The band has two violinists, and that capacity gives them some flexibility. They can push in a more melodic and ‘serious’ direction, as they do on tracks like “So Willingly Deceived” and the title track. Such songs use the dual violins to enhance the mood and give the songs some added weight a la Eluveitie. But they can strike back with the more upbeat and sing-a-long friendly tunes of “Pyre” and “The Old Mead Hall” with sounds that are sure to give the listener a smile instead of a war-ravaged grin. Never do these songs become overtly goofy, but offer that same feel as a lighter Ensiferum track or Heidevolk. Speaking of Heidevolk, the band also makes good use of multiple vocalists, allowing for some ear-catching harmonies.
As it’s the band’s first real dip in the pond, the five song EP serves more as a harbinger of things to come. The band has some clear potential, particularly if they continue to utilize the dual violins in an effort to distinguish themselves from their peers. For now, folk metal fans should give Land of the Setting Sun a shot (particularly as the CD version has 4 additional tracks – two covers and two acoustic versions).