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Isole - The Calm Hunter (2014) - Review

Band: Isole
Album title: The Calm Hunter
Release date: 28 November 2014
Label: Cyclone Empire

01. The Calm Hunter
02. Dead To Me (The Destroyer Part I)
03. Into Oblivion
04. The Eye of Light
05. Perdition
06. Alone in Silence
07. My Regret (The Destroyer Part II)

Isole, a long-running Swedish doom metal act which started their career in 1990 under the name Forlorn and changed it into like it's known today in 2004, certainly got a big reputation and respect in the doom metal underground with their own interpretation of epic, dark and traditional doom metal, but to be honest their music never really had the power to ignite that special spark in my heart, I don't know exactly why because this band has all those needed characteristics for making great doom releases and they did them, maybe that little something was missing for my taste. The Calm Hunter is bands sixth full-lenght album and I expected a lot from it, and yes, it is a fine album, actually very fine one, but once again I'm missing that little something.

In comparison with their previous album, in 2011 released Born From Shadows, the new one brings much more diversity into the bands music, there's a certain progressive feeling veiling through the songs, mostly is that sensed because of the dynamic and more complex song structures but as well because of the very technical instrumentation. Isole are still keeping all their characteristics from the past, heavy doom riffs, interesting vocal harmonies, dark soundscapes, exchanges between slow and mid paced parts, and kind of melancholic touch. Everything is divisioned between epic song structures, classic doom metal heaviness, occasional death metal touches, hypnotic gloomy ambiances and this time also ingenious progressive metal structures. Everything could work out just fine and on most of the occasions it does, but considering the album as entire it still feels somehow bland and uninspired. A part of clean vocals is just too much feeble and too traditionaly doom metalic, this certainly gets better and adds a lot of power and special dose of darkness when growls come to the front. Yet there's not to forget the blasting wall of bass guitar dominance.

It's useless to say that there are many fascinanting moments, almost in each of the featured tracks you can find something extraordinary, for example in the expiration of "Into Oblivion" where Isole reaches kind of a emotive climax. Or in the overall great epic "Alone In Silence" with the best vocal job up here, and in the closure of the album with "My Regret (The Destroyer Part II)". Genuine doom parts, similar to early Black Sabbath, like in the beginning of hypnotic "Perdition" will certainly bring warmth into the hearts of all doomsters out there, or later on when the duet between clean and harsh vocals takes the role, supported by very powerful dose of drumming and great rhytmic base. Isole knows how to keep the song structures melodic and at the same time kicking of with multi-layered almost aggressive metal parts. In its core The Calm Hunter is a very melancholic and dark album, the band is able to create some great atmospheric moments especially when spheric dark keys deepens the ambiance, not to mention the flawless instrumentations that just keeps pushing the listener in this audio experience until the very last note.

Said all that I'm sure that this album with a very good production and mix will be an absolute highlight of the year for many doomsters out there, but there's some bitter aftertaste left there. I've got a feeling that the band, even if they have all the potential and necessary experiences doesn't reach that pathos in the tracks that could move everything one step higher, that could be brought by implementing some more catchiness to move the listeners soul. Still I must recommend Isole's The Calm Hunter because I believe it's a must for fans of Candlemass, Memento Mori, Black Sabbath, While Heaven Wept, Solitude Aeturnus, Grand Magus and,..., you name it.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10