Thick in sound, textures, and emotional presence, the debut self-titled album from Swedish alternative metallers The Isolation Process is a transfixing adventure which catches the imagination and ignites the senses. Expectations for the album were slightly on the high side looking at the pedigree of its creators and it certainly does not let those hopes and assumptions down, instead leaving them an underestimation of what emerges from the riveting release.
The Isolation Process was borne from the ashes of Scandinavian alternative rockers Lingua, vocalist/guitarist Thomas Henriksson, bassist Anders Carlström, and drummer Patrik Rydbrand from the group (and also of sludge metallers Come Sleep), continuing to write and create together after the band’s recent demise. With a heavier, darker, and slightly more progressive sound emerging, the trio recorded their debut album with Michael Nordström (Switch Opens, Lingua, Jesaiah) last year. Mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna, Khoma) the resulting proposition is a mouth-watering incitement aurally and emotionally. Released via Version Studio Records the nine track evocative journey merges beauty and intimidation, shadows and flames into a creative landscape which immediately enthrals and continues to intensify its persuasion over every listen.
Opener A Simple Gesture takes no time in casting a voracious presence over the ears, riffs gnawing the senses as they chug with an intimidating predation alongside a bass sound which is bestial at its core and wonderfully ravenous at certain moments. It is just a teaser to the enterprise to follow though as just when you expect to be chewed up from start to finish unrelentingly the band swoops into a fire of melodic temptation and soaring sonic endeavour which aligned to the impressive rich vocals of Henriksson simply captivates. Merging and alternating between the breath-taking sounds and climbing intensity, it is a skilled and fluid union of diverse textures, a masterful suasion which by its end has alone seduced the fullest attention and appetite for what is on offer.
The following Visions is a different kind of creature right away, it’s gentle entrance, in comparison to its predecessor, a melodically bred coaxing which canters across the imagination as guitars stroke out magnetic chords and firm but respectfully rhythms frame the potent welcome. Into its stride with again great vocals wrapping every word and emotion around the striking sounds, the track unveils its sinews to create crescendos of intense incitement with again the bass producing a throaty rapaciousness which only deepens the persuasion. It is an anthemic slab of a song which like the first only strips any stability from remaining reservations, if any are still remaining.
Underneath It All steps forward next and with a melancholic air to its beckon provides an emotive canvas to reflect and immerse within but one unafraid to erupt with volcanic force and passionate ferociousness from within the sirenesque melodic narrative. Not for the first time on the album there is an element of Stabbing Westward and Cold about the song which though adding a familiarity only enhances the potency of the bewitchment. Initially not as instant in its strength as the first pair it a song which just gets better and better every time it evokes attention, again just like the album.
From the pleasingly sculpted and intriguing instrumental Inhale the album is back to snarling with a voracious rabidity through Victims of the Masses; the track a mentally invasive and emotionally provocative tempest of aggressive hunger and elegant beauty forged into a sonic landscape which is as rugged as it is mellow and as reflective as it is feverishly intensive. An adrenaline raising evocation, the song makes way for the scowling beauty of The Dead End, a giant of a track which roars with melodic passion and growls with rigorous bearing before it departs for the second instrumental Exhale to provide a breathing space. Both pieces of music are perfectly enjoyable but to be honest more allow time to process and reflect on what has come before than reveal any addition to the album’s objective no matter their intent. It is not their failure but just the power around them.
It Will Burn and Nothing To Collect complete the immense encounter, the first arguably the most bestial track but again in league with a melodic flaming and sonic invention which radiates and sublimely tempers any unbridled aggression which other bands might succumb to. It is not the strongest on the album but still a moment to lose one’s satisfaction to before the final emotionally fuelled fury brings the album to a dramatic conclusion. A slowly burning but wholly convincing and absorbing storm of sound and intensity, the song momentously completes an album which it is impossible not to find a torrent of time for physically and emotionally. The Isolation Process has for these humble ears and thoughts created the finest moment of its member’s artistic journey to date, a gem of a release and a long term engagement.
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