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Good EP with atmosphere, plenty of drama - 73%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 16th, 2017

One big difference between Isolert's self-titled EP and their album "No Hope, No Light ... Only Death" is that the tracks on the EP are very lengthy with the shortest original song of theirs clocking at just under 7 minutes. This suggests Isolert set up some high expectations of themselves to deliver songs boasting considerable song-writing chops, a variety of music and moods, plenty of drama and tension, and maybe a few surprises ... along with bucket-loads of the energy and enthusiasm I've come to expect from having heard the album. With regard to energy and passion, the song-writing, the music and drama, the guys definitely do not disappoint: the music is becoming layered and more complex in mood and delivery, and doomy moments are as likely to appear as the more usual hyper-fast blast-beat ones. Isolert still have to develop a more distinct and individual style, but with time and with more refinement, they will achieve that.

First track "Isolert" looks like the usual hyper-fast melodic blast-beat affair with the crabby grim vocals but one change is that the drumming is improving with not so much emphasis on clicky blast beats to carry it through. There are even a few rolls! Past the halfway mark, the fury lessens and the track becomes almost slow-burning mini-operatic with solo guitar, cymbal clash and bass drum, and a tortured vocal to take listeners to a level of hell where bleakness and torture beckon. For a few minutes we're treated to a scene almost unbearable in its intensity before being returned to familiar old-school BM territory for the song to finish. Likewise "Voices of Madness, Screams of Despair" doesn't seem too much out of the ordinary for a mostly mid-paced Scandi-styled melodic BM track, at least until the choir of ghost voices take over. "Depression Crawls in Mankind's Cage" features some very powerful riffs, driving bass and even booming - well, lite-booming perhaps - synth tom-tom work. A definite sinister atmosphere exists here, even without the addition of orchestral keyboard effects. The instrumental parts where the guitars and percussion circle each other like wary predator rivals sizing each other up for the eventual fight are very effective in increasing sinister tension. The vocals are put to work with reverb and multi-tracking to create the impression of several demons popping out of a multi-layered darkness.

At this point the EP could have ended with evil tom-tom thunder shutting down all options for escape but Isolert include a cover of a Slayer song "Evil Has No Boundaries" which doesn't add much to the EP and spoils it instead with cartoony vocals. The track is very short as well and seems to have been included more to sell the EP than for any connection with the original Isolert songs.

Even without the Slayer cover, the EP is very good - Isolert have improved their style and playing since releasing "No Hope, No Light ..." and are taking on more musical challenges where atmosphere, tension and some theatrics (but not too much) are becoming important. The guys are taking risks with their music and while these adventures might be a bit short-lived, the result is a more lively recording.