As we move around the Black Metal landscape, the Mediterranean is gaining importance. And most of them bands in the lands of olives and great wine are good to very good. Just think about our recent review of Darkend. Slowly, but surely letting the devil approach the Holy See in Rome. I really had fun with this special Congressus cum Daemone. Or Vinterblot joining us from the white beaches, down at the heel of the boot in Italy.
Then we got new bands like Isolert from Greece. These guys hit us with a very special brand of Scandinavian-imbibed Black Metal on their debut album No Hope, No Light…Only Death.
The band only started operations back in 2015, and immediately issued a first demo. In November of that same year, they found new band members to get things going a bit better and this shows in quality and amplification of output.
No hope: Hear the demon breathing on the album!
A short blurb of some 30 minutes of very Black Metal. Yet, the album is nevertheless no easy fare. Their tune is a delicate mix of melodic and underground elements, large-boned riffing, and just the right level of down-in-the-pit, raspy Black Metal.
In addition, the album presents this alluring progressive flavor in some places, like some much darker (should I say blacker..), spiked metal versions of a Greek Todtgelichter. Noteworthy are also the rare and somewhat frugal solos that – at times – peek around the heavy boulders of solid riffing on No Hope, No Light…Only Death.
Isolert managed with Hope to include their own redefinition of melodic into their metal offering. It is an art to play Black Metal that remains in the realm of the master of darkness but still keeps things interesting enough to stand out. The band carefully injects different elements all scraping about this metal underworld at not too melodic levels to be funky, but still keeping attention levels up. And more importantly, not chasing the die-hard black metallers away in droves.
Hope portrays this unholy pull of a maelström into desolate darkness!
The inclusion of theatrical elements, together with sound bits of all sorts give this album a very creative flavor, painting this dark picture of desolation. Okay, the die-hard metallers of the blackest kind may not see eye-to-eye on that, but THIS – together with the aforementioned elements – is what makes Isolert stand out from the crowd. And made me want to listen further into this very short, but also very intense album.
Taking their influence from masters of the spiked fists like Gorgoroth, Isolert start on you with the intro. A good one for once and mercifully short, taking you down into the abyss where Black Metal dwells. Straight followed by the stellar Your Hypocrisy – really taking the cork off this very special brand of black, metal red wine.
You might remember the quote – “..madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push..”. I love it. A fitting prelude stolen from The Dark Knight for Empty Memory (Hate for Mankind) featuring Wrath from Dodsferd. An interesting mix of shouted clear voice lyrics and rasps, right down there in the pit.
If you like real raspy Black Metal the way it was intended, then give The Dance of Tormented Spirits a little push too. Last, but not least, let me mention the title track No Hope, No Light…Only Death. Being at an epic scale of some 8 1/2 minutes is one thing. Quite another is the fact that this is mainly instrumental, and atmospheric. And only toward the end will you find a few lyrics.
So, is this Black Metal offering black enough?
Yeah, I would say so. No Hope, No Light…Only Death gets you the full spectrum of Melodic Black Metal, complete with some progressively influenced bits and pieces. At the same time, the band never loses sight of the theme and for sure of the style they are supposed to represent.
It is this tight, black metal farandole that will keep your attention to the end. In addition, the airtime being very short, the album is nevertheless intense enough to make you want to listen further – and all over again. I am looking forward to the band’s next depiction of the demon’s breath.