A few weeks back, I went on tour with my band, The Last Reign. On our journey, I came across a few bands that really stood out to me, so I’m going to take some time to review their latest albums. With a little luck, I’ll be able to transfer some of this musical magic to the Buffalo metal scene and make an impact.
For this review, I’m going to look at Isenordal– a black funeral/doom/neofolk band from Seattle, Washington. We ran into these guys at Live Wire Lounge in Chicago, IL on Saturday, April 22. They put on a fantastic performance and really blew our minds musically.
Their latest album, Shores of Mourning came out digitally and on cassette via ETERNAL WARFARE, two months ago. Fans of Windir, older Tristania, Immortal, older Sirenia, or Emperor will really appreciate this band. Locally, this band’s sound is very close in relation to Enthauptung, Mavradoxa, Sertraline, Ferus Din and Hubris.
Shores of Mourning is an incredible journey through the entire human emotional spectrum. There are only 6 tracks, but none of them dip below the 7 minute mark. The opening track (and longest) is the title track, “Shores of Mourning” and is just over 11 minutes in length. I think that opening their first full length album with this longer, incredibly multidimensional song was a very wise choice on the band’s part. New listeners will hear just this one song and know exactly what Isenordal has to offer and what they can expect from their other material.
Each song on the album is on the same wavelength with the next. These tracks are all seamless blends of heavy riffing, clean progressions, classic black metal harsh vocals, enchanting female vocals, intricate drumming of all appropriate styles and tempos, all completed with additional instrumentation from a viola, organ and piano. It’s very easy to get lost in these songs, but not from boredom; these songs all have their entrancing sections, capped with swift kicks to the face, paving the way for their more brutal moments.
My top tracks on this album are “Shores of Mourning” and “Pyres at Nightfall”. Both of these songs were the most fulfilling to me in terms of the band maximizing their musical resources. Each unique piece of their sound, from the vocals, viola and guitars at the forefront, down to the rhythm section, are utilized to their fullest extent on these tracks, truly showcasing Isenordal’s multidimensional foundation.
Take a listen to Isenordal below, follow the links to their Facebook and Bandcamp, and be sure to check out the video I’ve included from one of their live performances. You’ll find that they are just as impressive visually and atmospherically as they are musically.
Kerry Hall- Guitar, Vocals
Marisa Janke- Viola, Vocals
Sam Smallidge- Guitar
Brian Spenser- Drums
Jeff King- Bass
Lieu Wolfe- Piano, Organ
Thanks for reading! I’ll be following this up with two more articles, focusing on out of town bands I met on the tour. Cheers!