ISOLE – Anesidora
- by ER
- Posted on 04-04-2023
RELEASE YEAR: 2023
BAND URL: http://forevermore.se/
Alas, it’s time for the Forlorn to strike again! I am, of course, referring to the original name of the Swedish epic doom metal quartet Isole whose 8th full length was just recently released. Its predecessor, “Dystopia” was better than extra large pepperoni pizza on a Saturday night two person party where your partner is a vegeterian so I hungrily snatched “Anesidora” downloading it off of haulix without even reading the promo release, because albums such as “Bliss Of Solitude”, “Silent Ruins” or the aforementioned “Dystopia” re-shape the Peaceville Trinitarian (Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost) legacy into almost a new quality, abundantly benefiting from the more recent purveyors’ influence such as Katatonia or Swallow The Sun, although, in truth, the former one is Forlorn’s contemporary so chances are they are mutually influential. In any case, all of the above provide plenty of joy for those of us who seem to have permanent sorrow engraved into our very souls.
Formed and led by two Ereb Altor members: Daniel Bryntse (guitars, vocals) and Crister Olsson (guitars, backing vocals) through Forlorn (1991-2004) into what has been Isole since 2004, the Swedish epic death/doom monolith had quickly established themselves with “Forevermore”²⁰⁰⁵ and “Throne Of Void”²⁰⁰⁶ before the monumental perfection of “Bliss Of Solitude”²⁰⁰⁸ followed by “Silent Ruins”²⁰⁰⁹ and into more deathly “Born From Shadows”²⁰¹¹ and “The Calm Hunter”²⁰¹⁴, which saw addition of Jimmy Mattsson (2013-bass, backing vocals) and Victor Parri (2014-drums), to follow a more progressive rock direction of recent Katatonia on “Dystopia”²⁰¹⁹, a direction expanded on “Anesidora”.
To be sure, the signature and classic death/doom epic melodiscism is literally “In Abundance”, one of the most perfect creations Isole ever penned, combining Swallow The Sunny melancholy with that Hypocritical and Novembers Doomish heavy catchy brutality known from previous records, as are is the My Dying Bridian bipolarity in “Forgive Me”. However, the georgous opener “The Songs Of The Whales” with one of the most fantastic melodic clean sung choruses the genre has had to offer since Solitude Aeturnus dropped “Alone” and, especially, the riff innovative “Monotonic Scream” are of a different breed: more progressive or even post rocking, with the latter possessing a country flavor to it as if this was a Glorior Beli album, or, perhaps, this could be the Ereb Altor stylings peaking through the strings plucked by the same creators? These changes also signal another very striking aspect of Isole’s sound – the quickly disappearing growling replaced by more abundant, varied though, admittedly excellent clean vocalizations (Mattsson provides harsh vocals while Brynste and Olsson provide cleans). The growls are there but they are now a flavor instead of almost like another instrument. Combine this with suddenly and unprecedently Katatonian cover and the influence and direction is clear as a bell.
If you, however, had any doubts and the fewer and simpler deathly riffs didn’t clue you in the tracks such as Gorguts technical “Twisted Games”, the shockingly yet deceitfully optimistic “raise your voice/freedom of speech/you’re not alone/we can make a difference/time to stop wallowing in the mire” ballad “Open Your Mind” and the conclusion, the old Paradise Lost-driven “Vanity” with its “aaaaa” vocal fade to black, they will all convince you beyond reasonable doubt. The transition may be still subtle like that of Paradise Losts’ “Gothic” into “Draconian Times”, with songs still brimming with melodies of “Tonight’s Decision” (apropos that cover!) or “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” Katatonia (arguably their finest 2 hours) but the one-dimensional minimalistic structures allude more to the The Curian “Discouraged Ones” (as does, again, the cover!) and we get that feeling like the jawdropping departures of “One Second” are closer than they appear. Pretty soon, it seems, Anathema will be “The Silent Enigma” into “Eternity” and My Dying Bride let “The Angel And The Dark River” flow “Like Gods Of The Sun” into the ocean of progressive rock bereft of both death and doom only to…come back around? But such is life and such is music – the only constant is change.
“Anesidora” (ancient Greek: sender of gifts), which I clearly still treasure as reflected by the score, will have its critics and enthusiasts as there are so many things in it to continue to love as there are so many new sounds to embrace. However, this album does signal the gradual but inevitable departure from deathly doom as much as in the aforementioned real life metaphors and so, as with the recent Katatonia output you have to decide for yourself if you continue to ride this train or start counting stops using the palm of one of your hands.