Isolation‘s newest release actually had me somewhat excited – with its serene cover art and the band’s recent split with Austere, I anticipated getting at least a few weeks’ worth of enjoyment out of this album. Unfortunately, Closing A Circle turned out to be the musical equivalent of suffering through Shia LaBoeuf’s performances in Transformers movies. Musically the album was odd but fundamentally enjoyable, but the powerfully repellant force of the singer’s monotone vocals makes sitting through the album’s 46 minutes pretty torturous.
The album begins with a few tracks of basic atmospheric black riffing, but almost immediately the vocals come in and drop a sonic H-bomb on everything. The singer uses a sleepy singing style that doesn’t fit with the music, and doesn’t really seem like it would fit with any music, and he keeps it up for pretty much the duration of the album. It’s too bad because while the initial songs sound fairly typical of the genre, the band’s stripped down production and slightly unconventional riffing is at least interesting, sounding not too far off from bands like Whirling or LIK. The band really starts to experiment a bit later in the album: ‘One Day’ is close to trip-hop, and ‘Fan The Flames’ opens with a riff that’s closer to classic rock than black metal. Unfortunately even when the music gets really unique the vocals bitch slap you back into a state of annoyance and prevent you from enjoying everything the rest of the band does.
I’m not really sure what these guys were thinking with this album, but it’s definitely not what I expected at all. The one positive I can see from Closing A Circle is that at least Isolation is willing to experiment, and perhaps in another album or two these guys will manage to craft a unique and captivating sound. In the meantime though, I’d say skip this one.