Closing a Circle

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16/20
Band Name Isolation (GER)
Album Name Closing a Circle
Type Album
Released date 20 June 2011
Music StyleDoom Black
Members owning this album3

Tracklist

1. Something and Nothing
2. Closing a Circle
3. Never Enough
4. This Moment
5. Nomad
6. One Day
7. Fan the Flames
8. There Will Be No Answer
9. The Wasteland
10. May You Fare Well

Review @ GandhiEgo

17 August 2011

From the adolescent desolation of the demos to some kind of more mature depression

German band Isolation will suprise many with their debut titled Closing a Circle. It may be their first record but it follows the releases of many other productions such like many demos, a split or a compilation. Those that had discovered Isolation through these past productions must remember the very specific music of the band: Black Metal that is very depressive with stident screams as if you were taking a child away from his mother.

With Closing a Circle, the title already gives us a few hints as to forget the past and clear it form our memories. If musically the band kept some of its Black Metal sound, it’s got nothing more in common with past songs like Quiet These Colours Will Fade that were reminiscent of Belketre among others. The beast seems to have been tamed now and under their Black Doom label, it’s more now a tasty crossover between the old Black Metal depressive guitar riffing and sounds pertaining more to Cold Wave. As if Joy Division were playing Black Metal.

Nonetheless the biggest change and probably the most difficult one to accept for earlier fans is the change in vocals. You may as well forget the screams that would wake the dead up and crush tombstones and accept the clean vocals that made me think of Joy Division in the first place (and Isolation is a track from the Brits, coincidence?). Can Black Metal still be Black Metal with the characteristic vocals? Indeed it can, bands like Archgoat or Hate Forest are fine examples of this (though musically it’s a totally different story). For the sake of analogies, one might more of fellow German band Verdunkeln who, though they still haven’t given up completely the typical Black Metal vocals, do not make this the cornerstone of their music.

Verdunkeln which shares with Isolation quite a few similarities especially when it comes to sound and particularly on the sound of guitars just like, more recently, the US band Negative Plane. Still, the sudden turn of event displayed here by Isolation may well sever them from their original fanbase and if they want to sell records they might appeal more to aforementioned bands or Doom/Cold Wave bands like The Gault.

Still, if you forget the past history of the band and concentrate solely on this new record, Isolation have won their audacious bet. Even though the album is relatively long, one can listen to it without any boredom and if Johannes Schmid’s voice could be perfected at times, most of it is very enjoyable thanks to the great musicality of this work. Sometimes more melancholy, sometimes more upbeat, the tracks enjoy great songrwriting where the bass guitar sounds like a purring cat and where the drummer clearly enjoys playing more elaborate parts than the basic pounding of stricto senso Black Metal.

This album will divide listeners but if you’re a bit open-minded to some new sounds in Black Metal (I’m not talking Cascadian Hippie Black Metal), you should be satisfied with the overall result. From the adolescent desolation of the demos to some kind of more mature depression, the music and the emotion remain nonetheless as powerful as in the beginnings.

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