Isole - Bliss of Solitude (2008)Release ID: 8809

Isole - Bliss of Solitude (2008) Cover
Sonny Sonny / December 26, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

For me, Isole have been on a bit of a downward trajectory since their late-2000s high water mark and listening to Bliss of Solitude and latest release, Anesidora, back-to-back gives an illustation of why. The latter release feels stripped of any real emotional weight, with the band seemingly seeking a sound more palatable to the mainstream, stoner doom crowd.

So, enough of what went wrong and let us focus on what the band were doing well fifteen years ago, with Bliss of Solitude and it's follow-up Silent Ruins. After forming in 2004 the Swedes released a couple of solid doom metal albums in 2005's Forevermore and '06's Throne of Void, but it was with 2008's Bliss of Solitude that they found themselves nearing the summit of the doom metal mountain. Obviously they were influenced by Candlemass' bombastic style of epic doom metal, but that was certainly not the full extent of what Isole were about, that bombast being tempered by a sorrowful, emotionally resonant side like that being displayed by the likes of Patrick Walker's Warning. The result of this for a release like Bliss of Solitude is that it sounds at once romantically triumphant, but also heart-rending and mournful, like the emotions of the victors of a savage battle won at great cost.

The production is spot on and producer, drummer Jonas Lindström (also of Ereb Altor), have fashioned a perfect guitar sound, being at once huge and weighty whilst still possessing a sorrowful emotion that also keeps it quite personal-sounding. Additional weight is provided by the thundering basswork and Lindström's well-pitched drumming, which act as a perfect foundation for the emotionally-charged dirges of the riffs. The band employs dual guitarists / vocalists in Daniel Bryntse and Crister Olsson, their style of esoteric, layered clean vocals being another source of the album's essential melancholy, particularly on a slower, more inward-looking track like "Imprisoned in Sorrow" or "Dying".

There is a classiness to Isole's best work, of which this is definitely an example, to which not all doom bands are able to aspire. This isn't just about playing super-slow riffs, dragged-out to inordinate lengths, but it is about portraying sadness and sorrow in a relatable and humanly resonant way, being able to express negative emotion in a manner that hints at both redemption and hope without sounding trite or insincere. Bliss of Solitude is a classic slab of emotionally-charged doom metal that deserves a larger share of the praise that is heaped on lesser releases.

Morpheus Kitami Morpheus Kitami / December 18, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

At first glance, Isole is another Swedish epic doom metal band. I had never heard of them before the feature release but apparently they have some small popularity. Epic feels like the wrong genre, outside of song length they're closer to your typical doom sound.
This album has an extremely awful first impression. It sounds are somewhat disconnected from the rest of the album, sounding like something off a band Anathema clone. It lacks the fundamentals that make up the rest of the album, and has a somewhat repetitive sound to it, not a good sign for a song over 8 minutes in length.
In contrast, the rest of the album has a much more mellow sound to it, with gothic-tinted melodies. The album goes for what is almost a wall of these sounds. It's all about those sorrowful vocal melodies. While the band is competent, they are more there to bring pace and backing to those vocals. Interludes are merely breaks from these bits, solos are only there because it is expected, not because the guitarists are good at them.
A fine album, if somewhat odd as to what it's place in the world is.

Daniel Daniel / December 02, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I’d not heard an Isole record before diving head-first into this month’s “The Fallen” clan feature release but had always heard & read good things about them so I was hopeful of a positive outcome. Ben’s tick of approval provided additional cause for enthusiasm & the fruits of my labour have ended up well & truly justifying the effort too, despite easily being able to see why members like Ben & Sonny might get a touch more out of a release like “Bliss of Solitude” than I do.

Let’s start by saying that the production job on this record is nothing short of exceptional & that element is a very big part of its appeal. This album sounds as heavy as an overweight black hole with every component achieving complete clarity. The bass guitar tone is particularly powerful & makes me wish that more bands were lucky enough to benefit from such a weighty bottom-end. The vocals are quite tame & melodic in comparison & I’d suggest that the depth in the instrumentation allows Isole to get away with it more easily than they may otherwise have. In truth, it took me a couple of listens to come around to the vocals but there are definitely some impressive hooks there once you give them the time to dig themselves into your ears.

It's interesting that Isole seems to be unanimously claimed as an epic doom metal band as I don’t think it’s as cut & dry as that. In fact, I found more of “Bliss of Solitude” to sit in conventional doom metal space with only the two most significant tracks (i.e. the title track & closer “Shadowstone”) possessing enough epicness to warrant the tag. Perhaps this is just an example of why I don’t see the justification for adding the epic doom metal subgenre to the Metal Academy database just yet as I don’t think a record like this one is screaming out to be differentiated from the more pure variety of doom, despite being fairly easily compared to bands like Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus & early Ereb Altor. There’s a definite case for comparisons with My Dying Bride here at times too though, particularly through the start of the record with the guitar tone being fairly similar while the more epic moments inevitably see Isole borrowing from Viking-era Bathory as their source for sheer epicness, particularly in the strong use of reverb on the lumbering drumbeats.

“Bliss of Solitude” is a very consistent & professionally executed release from a band that’s already refined their sound & knows exactly what they’re trying to achieve. It doesn’t tick all of my boxes from a stylistic point of view but has still managed to draw me in through its relentless pursuit of quality doom riffage presented in the purest packaging available. I’ll definitely be returning to this album at some point & will be placing the rest of the Isole discography in my “To Be Investigated” list for the future too.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 3


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 3


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 4


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 4

Bliss of Solitude
The Fallen
Doom Metal

Doom Metal (conventional)

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