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Beautiful - 90%

Aetheraeon, March 17th, 2009

Being able to make songs with play lengths over 10 minutes go by as if it was a 1-minute interlude is quite a positive skill and Isole seem to have acquired this skill to a high proficiency. Even though their latest offering “Silent Ruins” is over 50 minutes long, it is over before you know it. This is by no means a negative remark, but merely serves to underscore the quality of Isole's song-writing. In fact, the music is highly enjoyable, heavy and intricate, and topped with a great production.

Although slow and mid-paced songs are most of what this album has to offer, Isole seems to be keeping a rather firm speed in moving through their songs. It is never the case that the songs become too slow or become boring because too little is happening. While none of the music is cheerful or mirthy, the atmosphere on “Silent Ruins” seems to be slightly more uplifting and positive than your regular doom metal band. Perhaps Isole see the light of the end of the tunnel, rather than only the depressing journey through the tunnel itself. It is not all quite as sorrowful and dejected as you might expect. In a sense, Isole's music on this album reminds more of epic doom metal bands, despite there being a rather gloomy undertone throughout, particularly in the vocals department. Vocals vary between low choir-like chanting, regular mid-range clean vocals and higher pitched clean vocals, all of these being well-placed and fitting the music like a glove. Paired with the largely audible bass and good drumming employed, “Silent Ruins” is simply a great doom metal record with quality songs all around.

In all, Isole show that they are the complete package. All aspects of this record, from song-writing to execution and packaging, are strong as can be and “Silent Ruins” is an album that deserves a place in any fan of the doom metal genre, regardless of whether it is on account of the beautiful vocals or the impressive quality of the music and production.