Starting life back in the 90’s as Forlorn before becoming Isole, these Swedish doom merchants have a steady stream of albums to their name. “Dystopia” arrives five years after their last release and this represents one of their longer periods without recorded output but the wait has been well worth it. Big riffs is what they promised and big riffs is what we’ve got.

A big, bombastic slab of heaviness kicks things off on “Beyond The Horizon”. Clean vocals with a strong sense of melody hover over shades of Opeth with its progressive slant. A mid track crank gives this some serious bite and it’s a good sign for what’s in store. One thing that stands out in the opening few songs is this slightly off kilter edge that gives a disturbing doom atmosphere. “You Went Away” brings a further dystopian soundscape that has a density and iciness. Growled vocals make brief appearances which manage to give this track even more power.

The band manage to keep building as the album progresses. “Forged By Fear” has an evil, lurching beast of a riff. Doomy as all hell, the vocals have an eerie flatness before turning into a sinister growl that breeds an air of twisted menace. Hugely atmospheric and epic in scale, this is a standout track. A Primordial styled urgency appears on “Galenskapens Land” before the lonely despair of closing track “Nothingness”. Fittingly titled, this has a highly emotive feel that takes a hard, punched riff again mixing clean and growled vocals that swing from desperation to condemnation.

“Dystopia” is a straight out heavy album that carries on Isole’s reputation for hard hitting doom metal. There’s some powerful stuff on this with a constant sense of momentum. Well worth checking out.

(7/10 Johnny Zed)