review by: Mladen Škot
Now, the music is good. Isole know what they are doing, and when they say "epic doom metal," they mean it. Even if they don't mean it, they simply and honestly do it. It's just natural to them, the songs are long and you don't notice. The songs are slow, too — no surprise — and the riffs are mostly simple, but they work so good that you won't question anything about them.
They don't hide their biggest influence is Candlemass, and there's no need for that. We can add that there's also some Bathory inside, at least by proxy, as the two members also play in Ereb Altor, which is as Bathory as it can possible be. If Ereb Altor was those two guys doing Bathory, Isole are those same two people, with an additional bass player and a drummer, doing a more modern version of Candlemass. It's really, really great. It's a bit more modern but still feels old, like the best of those classic old doom albums with real ideas and real passion. And Silent Ruins (Redemption Part 1) is Isole's fourth album.
But. Yes. Redemption. We don't know how it is possible that the same people responsible for Ereb Altor's Viking metal now sing using this terminology. Redemption, soul, sins, forgiveness, some "father" that is supposed to forgive them (and we're pretty sure it's not Odin this time), whatnot. We can stand the usual doom laments, floods of tears and endless solitude, but this, done so obviously and in your face — it depends. If you feel offended by things like these, we're afraid you would like the music but you would listen to Silent Ruins maybe twice. So, just skip it.
If you're one of those people that don't read the lyrics or pay attention to what the singer is doing, then just ignore the last paragraph and get it. (8.5/10)
review by: Roberto Martinelli
Same score here as in Mladen’s review, but a few amendments and critiques.
First, Silent Ruins is hardly a slow doom record. What with the mid-paced tempos and the busy, aggressive way the drummer plays on this record (he’s really stepped up the intensity!), the style is something like power / doom.
Second, Silent Ruins is about 10 times better than the last record, Bliss of Solitude, which suffers from a too thin, slick production and unremarkable songs. We were afraid that Isole had peaked with the great stuff on Throne of Void, went to a bigger label and immediately commenced being boring like bands that go to bigger labels can sound boring, but they’ve made a killer record here.
Third, yes, there are lyrics about having one’s "father" forgive one. And Mladen’s probably right in that it’s "not Odin," but assuming it’s the Christian god... what’s new about that in doom, and specifically, melodic doom? It’s an honored tradition of the style. Candlemass has had it all over their discography, same for Trouble (of course, they are a Christian band), same for St. Vitus, and not least, same for Black Sabbath. The imagery and themes of all those bands (we’ll stop beleaguering the point by naming more) wasn’t like Christian metal, which is about spreading the Gospel of Christ, but rather about being enamored with the mystique of the Christian cult — the doomy inspiration of the majesty of gothic cathedrals, the grim elegance of Catholic cemeteries, the magical aura of the myth of heaven and hell, and the beauty of medieval art and the images it evokes. Anyone can appreciate those things without being devout followers of the dogma. Classic doom metal in particular, and therefore, all heavy metal, ever, would not exist if not for its relationship with Christianity. Thus, there is no apparent paradox in this reviewer’s mind in Isole’s lyrics.
Fourth, Isole might have been inspired by Candlemass, but they do not sound like Candlemass, particularly the Candlemass of the last 10-15 years. They are much less cheesy, are more classical music oriented, and now, have more of a power metal energy.
Silent Ruins is a great album, with excellent songs, progressive arrangements, unique, talented vocals, and exciting musicianship. The best songs Isole has ever written remain on Throne of Void, but Silent Ruins is probably the best album they’ve recorded yet. See you on the best of 2009 list. (8.5/10)