Published on Monday, 05 May 2014 22:52
Band: Order Of Isaz
Album title: Seven Years Of Famine
Release date: 14 March 2014
Label: Season Of Mist
01. The Coalesce
02. The Blackened Flame
03. Screeching Owl
04. Dancing Shadows
06. Umbra Sombra
07. Father Death
08. Spirit (Dead Can Dance cover)
09. The Dying Star
Can you imagine what happens when former Tiamat bassist Johnny Hagel, who took the part of the band in that golden era when Clouds and Wildhoney albums were born (also known as beign a member of Sorcerer, Sundown and Cemetary 1213), and former Necrophobic vocalist Tobias Sidegård (also ex-Trident), together with rather unknown guys like guitarist Magnus Naess and drummer Anders Bentell, join their forces? No? I couldn't believe my ears, I haven't heard such a grandiose gothic metal album for quite some time. I almost started to believe that this specific genre was reserved only to big names like are Paradise Lost, Moonspell, Tiamat and the rest of phalange who is with us for almost 20-30 years, and nobody of newcomers couldn't make something enthusiastic anymore. Like a breeze of fresh air here comes Order Of Isaz, with an album which was in the making for seven long years, hence I believe the album title derives from that. Actually there was a self-titled EP released in 2009, but after that - silence.
The album comes described as a new gothic classic for fans of The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission and Fields Of The Nephilim, but this is just one part of the truth. Seven Years Of Famine is one of those versatile albums that are difficult to describe. Yes, we can label it as a gothic metal, but here is very much present that special gothic rock spirit and let's not forget about many doom metal parts, yet you might notice melodic parts which are very close to so called "Suomi" metal. Each song has its own characteristics, still each one has one hell of a flow, there's a majestical pathos. It's an album that can appeal to many lovers of dark sounds and I could give you houndred of bands names that come in mind while listening to this, but it's more than sure that all those who love before mentioned legendary goth rock trio, then fans of Paradise Lost, Tiamat (era Wildhoney), Type O Negative, Sundown, Amorphis, Sentenced, Deathstars, but also Evereve (era Stormbirds/Regret), Darkseed, For My Pain, Lake Of Tears and many other great acts, will fall in love with this product.
With all the honourable before mentioned names I must say that Order Of Isaz have managed to achive the sound of their own. With all the melancholy and darkness that is incarnated in the very soul of Seven Years Of Famine, many solemn moments, catchy choruses, breathtaking atmospheric compositions, strong rhythms and captivating dynamic vocals, it paints a picturesque soundscape that unveils with every next note and believe me that it's a hard to press the stop button on the music player. There's present a constant tension with questioning what's to follow in the further development of the song and I can assure you that there are many surprises. That's pretty much shown already with the strong gothic/doom metal opener "The Coalesce". There's no doubt that the vocals are the strongest point in here, I would never imagine that death/black metal vocalist Tobias is capable of singing in such a marvelous and passionate way. His vocal job in here is one of the most dynamic I ever heard. Like a mixture of Carl McCoy, Whiplasher Bernadotte, Ville Laihial and Nick Holmes, or you name it. Occasionally there comes in the picture a tender female voice that deepens the atmosphere, like in the alarming beautiful "Screeching Owl" or in tender, yet very dark semi acoustic ballad "Dancing Shadows".
Very strong drumming when necessary, great bass lines all over the record, sweeping sombre guitar riffs and crescendos, plus many other well inserted elements that give so much depth in everything up here, thus will leave you speechless. It's almost impossible to point out to just one or two songs, there are no fillers at all. Beside before mentioned three songs, I was moved by the fastest one, "The Blackened Flame", then my initial favourite was dramatic "Father Death" and of course the amazing cover of Dead Can Dance's "Spirit". In doomy and the most melodic one, "Umbra Sombra", you can't miss a riff which is very similar to Iron Maiden, then in the same one the orchestral string insertion is absolutely gorgeous. Everything closes with the longest, over 8 minutes, song up here "The Dying Star". This one has kind of an alternative rock vibe deep rooted in it and the sound of cello in here makes it so melancholic. Each and every note or element seems to be so deliberately thought, and with a perfect production and mix everything is even more evident. Yeah, for me this album is already a classic of the genre and if you ever loved gothic metal or anything dark within rock music than I strongly suggest you not to skip this album. It's a masterpiece by all means!
Review written by: T.V.