Roughly seven years have passed since Isolant released their self-titled, album-length, debut demo. Those seven years have not been kind to the world, and (to put it mildly) Isolant aren’t in a kind-hearted mood either these days. Their new EP Drain is rightly summed up by the Sentient Ruin label as “6 lightless tracks of misery-infused, death-worshipping, and spine-breaking downtuned crush-depth, clad in enveloping atmospherics and scarred with an immanent sense of hopelessness and doom”.
For this new EP original member Max Furst (Malleus, The Watcher, ex-Morne) performed guitars, bass and drum programming, and he was joined by vocalist M. Alagna (Abstracter, Atrament, Ash Priso, Somnolent) and Spanish noisemaker M. Souto (Suspiral, Sepelio, S.E.K.H., Arkaik Excruciation, Excurse, ex-Bodybag).
What they’ve accomplished together on Drain has also been accurately summed up as a fusion of “cold and bleak industrial metal of acts like Spine Wrench, Godflesh, Scorn (Vae Solis era), and Skin Chamber with the atonal percussive grimness of early Swans, and the crawling heaviness and abysmal atmospherics of death-doom”.
The first single from the new EP, “Inner Tomb“, proved to be nightmare fuel, but it also affixes itself to the reptile brain in ways that make sitting still damned difficult as its dark and demented tale plays out. It proceeds like some gigantic subterranean stomp, and around those mid-paced upheavals the band weave grim slithering and screaming tones, plus vocals that are truly sinister and ghastly.
The massive grooves change in their methods of trauma, and the surrounding music wails in agony. The bass grumbles, and flares of dolorous melody go up, begging for help, but no mercy is to be found, especially from those ghastly gasps, werewolf howls, crocodile growls, and strangled gurgles.
If that first song doesn’t succeed in playing havoc with your nerves and muscle fibers, we’ve now got the album’s second single, which is both the title track and the track that closes the album. It’s not easy on the nerves either, and there’s maybe an greater risk of muscle convulsion.
Dim and mysterious at first, it begins to stalk and rumble, to needle at the brain and to send mysterious swirls of melody high above cavern-dwelling roars. There’s something almost majestic, or at least coldly imperious, about those sensations, but the quivering guitar also bleeds misery.
The pavement-shaking booms in the music are potent, and there’s a big hook-laden riff in there too. Even though the booming continues, the music also morphs into mysterious and inviting tones paired with grim and gloomy near-singing — before the primal grooves and that sinister but addictive riff return to shake you again.
Sentient Ruin will release Drain on February 24th, on limited-edition cassette tape and digital formats, and they’re available for pre-order now. The cover art is the twisted work of P. Van Trigt.