Isole – Born From Shadows (Napalm Records)

Saturday, 23rd March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Arguably the next best option in Swedish doom metal next to Candlemass, Isole continue down the same cloaked-in-darkness road with their fifth album, Born From Shadows. Much like 2009’s quite solid Silent Ruins,Cloaked In Darkness sees the Swedes augment their punchy, riff-based sound with the haunting vocals of Daniel Bryste, who is very close to becoming the best singer in European doom metal.

Riffs right out of the Nightfall and Tales of Creation playbook are apparently what Isole is most interested in at the moment, creating some panoramic doom moments on “Black Hours,” which gives Bryste an avenue to let his booming vocals take flight. Brynste proves his worth during the crawling portions of the title track, while riding along comfortably on “Come To Me,” where his marvelous cadence and stately delivery make the song the album’s definitive highlight.

Without the atmospheric jolt that was experience on 2008’s totally excellent and world-beating Bliss of SolitudeBorn From Shadows doesn’t quite have the endurance to keep up with its predecessors. There’s some major lag and sag on “My Angel,” which overstays its welcome at over ten minutes. Same could be said of “Condemned,” in spite of its punchy and throttling main riff – there’s not much in terms of alluring hooks to either of these.

Less on the doom side than one would think, Isole has a much wider scope than a lot of the bands they’re associated with, which is why in some cases, Born From Shadows is a bit of a downer. At times, you’re waiting for those awe-struck moments of the ethereal variety, where Bryste’s vocals soar like an angel in heaven (with black wings, of course), but they’re in short supply here. Still, Born From Shadows is worth hearing based on Brynste alone. Perhaps we’ll start his fanclub.

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