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getting better with every release - 80%

gk, April 21st, 2009

Silent Ruins is the bands second album in as many years and the follow up to Bliss of Solitude. The band has been steadily raising its profile in the doom metal world and with a little bit of luck Silent Ruins could be the album that takes these Swedes to a whole new level.

The band has always worn its influences on its sleeve and it’s the same case here with their latest album. The template of Candlemass, Anathema and Solitude Aeturnus is still being followed but with a few minor adjustments. The big change is in the band’s two guitarists. No longer do they try to play weepy melancholic solos. Instead, the doom metal on offer is bolstered by some ripping guitar work that works very nicely with the generally morose songwriting. The band on the whole is also just a touch more energetic on this album than they have been in the past and the change works well. The songs go through a variety of moods and tempos ranging from epic Candlemass styled doom to more aggressive up tempo doom that compares favorably to the last Memory Garden.

The biggest problems with Silent Ruins though are the opening and closing songs on the album. Both of them cross the 11 minute mark and while opener From the Dark has a few interesting parts it fails to hold my interest for its entirety. The same goes for album closer Dark Clouds which is a bit better than the opener but again just seems like an unnecessarily long song. However, having said that, sandwiched between these two epics is five of the best songs the band has ever written. Forlorn is a mournful and melancholic doom metal song that’s high on atmosphere, Nightfall comes across like a heavier groovier memory Garden and is the best song on here with some solid vocals and guitar solos. Soulscarred is moody doom metal that alternates between a chugging doom riff and gentle acoustic melodies and Pecattum is a piano led doom ballad that works very nicely with gentle almost chant like vocals.

I have to say that this is a big step up for the band. The majority of songs on this album hover in the good to great area and with just a little bit of editing on the opening and closing songs of the album this would have been some essential doom metal. As it is, it’s well worth hearing especially for fans of bands like Ereb Altor (which shares guitarist/ vocalist Daniel Bryntse with Isole) and for fans of the classic Candlemass/ Solitude Aeturnus sound.

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