Band and sound might be tagged as progressive metal, but the best description for both elements and the creative and technical fury of Scottish band Islasorna, is psychotic. The Edinburgh quintet’s debut EP E.D.E.N is a tempest of bedlamic ideation, a deranged onslaught of inventive noise which could be declared a sonic psychosis and should be acclaimed as one intoxicating slab of thrilling turmoil.
Formed at the beginning of 2014, Islasorna create the most unpredictable maelstrom of sound. It is indeed bred in from a progressive seeding, but from second to second comes infused with a diverse array of flavours and psyche twisting imagination. Inspirations for the band are drawn from the likes of The Devil Wears Prada, Northlane, Whitechapel, Sikth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Animals as Leaders, and Metallica, varied spices adding to a striking proposition in sound matched by a live presence which has increasingly earned acclaim and attention as the band shared stages with bands such as Bleed From Within, Carcer City, Demoraliser, Martyr Defiled, and Continents over the past year or so. E.D.E.N is a fierce nudge on broader awareness and recognition, and though for some it might be a creative turbulence too far such the intensive nature of the EP, Islasorna will surely be a name on a much wider roar from hereon in.
The EP opens with Obliteration and a melodic twang of guitar which alone soaks the air in a sultry yet slightly portentous suggestiveness. It is a hint quickly realised by the forceful beats of Michael Devlin and the vocal roar of Justin Dilworth. At first their presence only brings a small element of imposing urgency with it, a slither of increased intensity but also a stronger and darker apocalyptic hue which toys with and ignites the imagination. At the song’s climax a voice skirts the senses and provokes thoughts, menacingly flirting from the shadows before the following Achluophobia emerges to bring its words to thicker destructive reality.
The second track instantly expels a djent spawned predation around a blaze of vocal scowling and sonic intimidation from the guitars of Dean Watson and Jamie McArthur. As the first track, it is more a prowling ravenous predator than a vicious onslaught yet the pathological agitation its title suggests is fuel to the attention gripping enterprise and imagination cast by the band. Simultaneously the track is savage and seductive, extremes entwining and in revolt against each other as the listener is dragged through a landscape of metalcore and grindcore to name two of the open essences sculpted in a progressive and experimental voracity.
Judas in comparison is a calmer incitement on ears and senses, and opens with a thoroughly engaging melodic caress of guitar courted by the darker lures of Mark Brunton’s bass. It is a fascinating start, the equally mellow tones of Dilworth adding to the tantalising proposal. The feeling that something is brewing is never far from the surface though and by midway the brief but potent offering has uncaged a caustic climate of sound and emotion though it is still with restraint as the band reveals more of their diversity in songwriting, sound, and individual prowess. Its magnetic bellow makes way for the harsher but no less inventive Choices. The song continues the melodic and dazzling progressive elements of its predecessor but cages them in a jagged confrontation of riffs and barbarous rhythms, both Devlin and Brunton as carnivorous in their attack as the guitars are melodically riveting. Arguably the encounter fits into the more expected template of progressive metal and the inspirations to the band mentioned earlier, yet it is a perpetual provider of unique twists and senses spearing sonic flirtation again setting the band apart from the crowd.
Creative mania returns in full lung bursting vocal and noise driven devilry next with 4-2-8, the track full warfare on the senses as Dilworth reveals his broadest vocal derangement yet and musically the band twists like a sonic and rhythmic dervish. The track is outstanding, not necessarily better than any other upon E.D.E.N but staking a favourite claim with increasing success over every listen. Its rigorous and rugged turbulence is instantly contrasted by the EP’s closing title track where once more Islasorna pull back the shades on another side of their imagination. An initial breeze of melodic beauty kisses ears and thoughts first, keys colouring a shadowed ambience with elegant charm before evolving into an electro rock seducing around militant rhythms and a union of harsh and harmonic vocals. Post hardcore, scream, post rock, they are all amongst the spices within the encounter, whispering hues within the enthralling finale going towards further proof of the band’s originality.
As outstanding as it is, E.D.E.N still feels like it is only the first big step of the band, one loaded with such promise that it suggests it is merely going to be the springboard for bigger, bolder exploits ahead. This only adds to the excitement of the emergence of potentially a new force in European metal.
The E.D.E.N EP is available from June 1st through all stores.
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