‘The Isolation Splendour’
(Hypnotic Dirge/Solitude Productions, March 2016)
The debut album from this six-piece death-doom band from Greece offers a vast ocean of suffering for the listener to dive into. Over the course of an hour or so, Immensity squeeze in a spectacular number of elements on this release.
The slow, regal riffs remind the listener of Daylight Dies, with echoes of My Dying Bride; the clean vocals provide an elegant foil to the growled misery; the keyboards and delicate picking create a subtly epic atmosphere. And while some of these interweaving elements sometimes interfere with the music’s heaviness, there is never a moment of boredom on ‘The Isolation Splendour’.
These Greek sorrow-sellers, who formed in 2009, have something in common with Opeth in their gently progressive momentum switches. In this sense, each track is a 10-minute saga, unfolding chapter-by-chapter and piece-by-piece. The down-side of this truth is that the album is exhausting to listen to – each individual part is well-executed and the songs are smartly constructed but they tumble over you like a gradual avalanche of emotion and musical drama.
When this style of composition works, it can be wonderful. Take the album’s title track, for example, which demonstrates the band’s confidence and sophistication by patiently building a monstrous song that’s packed with originality and personality. ‘The Sullen’, though, is slightly less impressive, feeling more like a series of concepts strung together to create a song.
This release features two remastered tracks from the band’s 2012 ‘The Lonely Aquarelle’ demo, and these are a little more in-your-face metal, which could be said to be more impactful and ferocious than their more recent material, but perhaps not as assured.
This album sets out to overwhelm you with epic misery. Aside from one or two moments of cheesiness (please stop whispering!), ‘The Isolation Splendour’ is a glorious debut from an ambitious and at times magnificent death-doom outfit.