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Review by Michael on March 12, 2023.
With Anesidora Isole opens Pandora's box and unleashes all the gloom and sadness on mankind and deals mainly with the treatment of the earth by humans and that we are to blame for its demise.
The now eighth studio album of the Swedish doomers starts with 'The Songs Of The Whales' and right from the beginning goes into very melancholic and epic sounds and puts the listener in a gripping, but also very thoughtful mood. The guitar sounds, which here and there even really remind of whale songs, are melancholic doom at its best and may let one think about how it stands around the oceans and what the whales, if we could understand them, would tell us. 'Twisted Games' starts off quite proggy with clever guitar arrangements, but quickly turns into a doom roller with double-voiced vocals meant to represent an inner monologue. It's a pretty calm song that gets slightly eruptive from time to time, it exudes however a certain restlessness due to the ever-so-slightly menacing and repetitive riffs and the deep growls. 'Open Your Mind' also relies on melancholy and sadness, but the bright, clear vocals spread a certain hope. Here, the band relies on epic elements like Sorcerer already did in the opener, but it doesn't seem as opulent by lengths, but rather depressing.
'Vanity', the last song of the album, almost poaches from the riffing of old Paradise Lost, low-pitched guitars and tough, almost creeping melodies determine it. Keyboards accompany this funeral procession to finally carry humanity to the grave.
The other three songs do not impress with a firework of cheerfulness, but are also slow and thoughtful doom, which you should not necessarily (or maybe especially then) listen to on a bad day. If one should assign the album to a certain film scene, one could perhaps assign it to the scene in "The Neverending Story", where Artax the horse sinks in the Swamp of Sadness. That's about how the album can drag you down.
If you want to get a pure doom metal album without too many points of criticism (maybe the songs are a little bit too long in some cases) that is guaranteed to be one of the doom highlights of the year, you can grab Anesidora without hesitation and if you still don't have enough of it - Hammerheart has just reissued Isole's back catalog as CDs. If that is too melancholic for you, you can reach for Ereb Altor, which also features two band members and spreads a more positive atmosphere.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 sinking horses147