Isole – Silent Ruins (Napalm Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Fresh off last year’s melo-doom stroke of brilliance Bliss of Solitude, Swedish doom merchants Isole waste no time in giving us a follow-up in the form of Silent Ruins. Whereas Bliss of Solitude was clearly the most ethereal doom album to come from Sweden since Candlemass’s NightfallSilent Ruins is a bit more brutish, with the quartet keeping the foot on the gas pedal, which means things this time out are more lumbering as opposed to deliberate and delicate.

Opener “From the Dark” has a nice little primordial surge to it, augmented by vocalist Daniel Bryste’s laid-back, but ever-so haunting vocals. In fact, Bryste takes on more of a prominent role this time out, heading up numbers like “Nightfall” and “Dark Clouds” in a more authoritative fashion.

The straight-ahead rumble of “Forlorn” is guaranteed to click live and contains a handful of agile, formidable riffs. “Hollow Shrine” emerges as the go-to number of the bunch, a carefully constructed gem that ebbs into a multi-faceted, doom charmer that is equally atmospheric as it is heavy.

”Soulscarred” recalls the dark beauty of the bulk of Bliss of Solitude via a slow build-up and slabs of proto-Sabbath power. The same bodes for “Peccatum,” which allows Bryste to work his vocal magic up against a basic piano line.

Hardly a repeat of Bliss of Solitude or even their early Forevermore effort,Silent Ruins is melodic doom metal of the highest quality and should soon make Isole synonymous with the term. The components and songwriting savvy of this troupe are hard to deny and given the relative dearth of bands of this style, Isole should be a name most of us should be uttering in this post-Messiah Marcolin-led CMass world.

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