Friday, April 7, 2017

CD Review: ISENORDAL Shores Of Mourning

Shores Of Mourning
When you hear about Seattle, Washington you usually think of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and the grunge explostion from that area. You don’t normally think of extreme metal. But Seattle is the birthplace of a band worthy of the best bands from Europe. Isenordal formed only a few years ago and they already have massive potential to redefine what we expect to come from Seattle. I had a feeling there was something I was going to relish about Shores Of Mourning, their follow up to their ’14 demo Imbolc MMXIV. As an initiatory acquaintance to Isenordal, it’s becoming an instantaneous favorite. From the exquisitely gloomy isolation of the title cut I could swear the term “beauty in darkness” was coined with Isenordal in mind. The Pacific North band’s debut full length is described as “a testament to grief and an exploration of purgatory” and “a cry for a long-absent sunrise over a sorrowful and chaotic plane” by the Earsplit Compound team who emailed me a downloadable promo. As this odyssey into darkness progresses I feel the band could go places that would make Type O Negative and My Dying Bride sound cheerful. Drawing on themes as melanoid as can be channeled of black, funeral doom and neofolk, Isenordal constructs sweeping hymns to all that is heavyhearted and despondent on a grand scale. I avoid using words like “awesome” describing a band but the piano intro of the first track held me in awe. It’s one of those tracks that permeate your surroundings, transforming them into a gothic lair from the deepest depths of your inspiration, where you meet the unreal spirits living there. When the song turns toward black metal and concludes on a somber note it’s monumental. The following track “Of Winged Fire and Crawling Shadow” adds riffing similar in some respects to Carcass and Megadeth; at least these are the bands I thought of. “A Gallow’s Prayer” is another that stands out for its schizophrenic synthesis of black and funeral doom enhanced by a theme or two of Celtic/pagan metal. The band's use of atmosphere, piano, strings and backing vocals (male and female), being standard for bands like this, abundantly enriches the semblance of the abyss you’re drawn into. The song structure is kindred to My Dying Bride in terms of length and how each new guitar progression builds on the last. The strings are surprisingly clean and their delivery doesn’t contrast to the other instruments. There is nothing tedious about this album either. Instead you’re eager for what you may hear next. The titles alone suggest the extent to which the band involved thought into composing these songs. It doesn’t take long to convince you a great deal of thought was involved. This is a band that thinks outside the box. Isenordal are currently touring to support this album; you can contract Earsplit for tour information. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Shores of Mourning
2. Of Winged Fire and Crawling Shadow
3. Pyres at Nightfall
4. To Tear the Veil of Dreams
5. A Gallows Prayer
6. Cleansing Rites

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