Pain and anguish are two things no one wants to experience, and when you’re in the midst of it, it feels like that state will last forever. When you couple those elements with stormy conditions in personal relationships or the frustrations of everyday life, everything can be amplified, and being able to release all of that tension can become paramount.
Digging into an Isole record usually means delving in the shadows and wallowing in agony, and their excellent seventh record “Anesidora” definitely doesn’t hold back and lets out that suffering. Yet as the album and its seven song navigate choppy waters and push through bruising emotions that can scar for life, their music finds a way to soar amid so much gloom. It’s one of the melodic doom metal band’s most adventurous albums, one that’ll hook you from moment one, and the band—vocalist/guitarist Daniel Brynste, guitarist/backing vocalist Crister Olsson, bassist/vocalist (harsh) Jimmy Mattsson, drummer Victor Parri—goes all in, pouring their hearts and psyches into this collection that is powerful and impactful.
“The Songs of the Whales” opens with agitated guitars and soaring singing driving the energy. The guitars are layered with melodic darkness, rushing and making your blood surge as Brynste calls, “Listen to the songs of the whales,” later noting, “They will tell you a story from the sea.” “Forgive Me” is murky and sorrowful, feeling dank and hopeless, the playing enveloping your senses. “I tried to heal these wounds, wounds that cannot be healed,” Brynste calls as guitars rush, the emotion jars, and the begs of forgiveness are surrounded by fires melting hearts. “Monotonic Scream” swims in self-loathing, the singing bellowing, the playing slowly infecting your bloodstream. “I feed on guilt, I hate myself,” Brynste admits as organs sprawl, the goth shadows becoming more intimidating. Harsh growls mix in, burning with acidic terror and jetting off into the night.
“Twisted Games” dawns with riffs trickling and the pain multiplying, Brynste wailing, “I had a dream where we coexist.” That hope is fleeting as Brynste later admits, “You hid your dark side well,” following with, “I have to flee from you,” as Mattsson howls, “And your twisted games!” It’s wrenching and a little too raw for any comfort. “In Abundance” chugs as foggy riffs spread their wings, keys swell, and burly growls add to the ugliness. The chorus sweeps, the guitars fire up, and the playing scorches flesh, getting to a cleaner path where Mattsson growls, “There is no turning back,” as the track blasts away. “Open Your Mind” starts with clean acoustics, layered singing, and the common theme of guilt and grief layered into the story. Guitars spiral as the pace picks up, and Brynste wails, “It’s time to stop wallowing in the mire and raise yourself up and make a stand,” a boisterous declaration that ripples your chest with power. Closer “Vanity” drips with dark waters as the singing hypnotizes, organs gush, and the solemnity keeps getting heavier. The seas darken with melancholic storming, and the playing slowly dissolves, its essence sinking to the bottom of the world.
Isole’s majesty remains as strong as ever on “Anesidora,” a gem of a doom metal record that thrives with its honest human emotions, emotional failures, and guilt associated with those feelings. The album itself, even when you remove the wrenching themes, absolutely fills your chest with sadness and glory at the same time, reminding that they have still have a heavy hand for making sounds that grip your heart. This is powerful and impossible to shake, a record that storms liberally and impactfully and leaves you devastated inside.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Isoleofficial
To buy the album, go here: https://hammerheartstore.com/collections/vendors?q=Isole
For more on the label, go here: https://www.hammerheart.com/