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Not Ruined - 83%

Daru_Jericho, June 16th, 2009

Hailing from Sweden, a land rich with doom metal including Candlemass, Draconian and Grand Magus, Isole play doom that sounds nothing like the aforementioned groups. Silent Ruins is the band’s fourth full-length record, following Bliss of Solitude, which was only released last year.

Silent Ruins has ample on offer with tempos that vary from funeral doom to rapid double bass drumming. The opening song clocks in at over ten minutes, full of varied dynamics and grand essences to keep the listener’s interest sustained. Clean singing is the primary source of vocalisation but well-positioned growls appear sparingly. The use of melodic guitars paired against heavy rhythms is effective and the Eastern-influenced meandering leads of ‘Forlorn’ and ‘Soulscarred’ are distinctly memorable. Conversely ‘Peccatum’ is devoid of guitars as a piano ballad, providing a sumptuous change of texture on the release.

There is little detestable on this opus but one trifling issue is the closing song ‘Dark Clouds’. It commences magnificently but spends too much time repeating a mediocre melodic guitar lead over stereotypical doom chords, concluding suddenly after over ten minutes as if the band ran out of ideas. This is a disappointing end for such a high calibre release.

Overall, Silent Ruins is a likely contender for doom metal album of the year. It is dark without being melodramatic. With a variety of techniques borrowed from all over the doom spectrum, this album never fails to occupy curiosity.

Originally written for www.soundshock.net