I've also been watching over I Hate Records releases, this Swedish label doesn't produce many records but all of them are jewels or excellent materials. A little Doom Metal band hooked me as they really found their way, their own identity reminding some of the best Doom Metal combos. This band is ISOLE from Sweden, and they've yet recorded two full-lenghts "Forevermore" and "Throne Of Void". I got a chat with Bryntse (guitar and vocals) about his combo and many other Metal related topics. Read on his very humble answers.
Hail, how are you today ? What is the fresh news from ISOLE ?
Good evening ! I'm fine today. Just a bit tired (as always) after a hard days work. The perfect moment to relax with this interview.
Fresh news, you ask ? Oh well.. not much really. We recently recorded a bonus track for the second pressing of our debut "Forevermore". The song is a slightly reworked heavier version of the old demo-track "Tears of Loss". Besides that we've taken a short hiatus lasting over the recent holidays.

Let's start the interview introducing ISOLE to readers, you began the band in 2004 through a promo tape, didn't you ? What is the musical background of members ? And is there any meaning behind the band name, excepted the obvious dictionary one ?
Well... the band actually goes way back, as you know, although we got kind of a new start coinciding with the change of name. The first thing we ever released under that name was the "Forevermore"-album, not counting the mentioned advance promo we recorded for I Hate Records.
You could say that me and Crister has a common musical background since we've been playing together since the late 80's. Henka is a few years younger, but began playing in Forlorn back in 1995. Jonas, however, is the "freshman" since he's only been with us since early 2005. Me, Crister and Henka are all self thought. Jonas is the only one with some kind of musical education. Anyway, we've all been involved in numerous other bands and projects over the years... to many to mention here.
Hmm.. what else? Ah.. yes.. The meaning behind the name... To be honest, there is nothing more than the dictionary one. We wanted something with a meaning at least related to that of "Forlorn", so.. our French speaking former guitarist Per came up with the name... and we liked it ! Still don't know how to either spell or pronounce it correctly, though (so, if the band name is a French word, that might be "Isolé" ???-ed)

The band began with Forlorn as band name, why did you switch it for ISOLE ? Was it because of the Norwegian band ?
Yes. Them and a handful of other bands having the same name.

How did you get into Doom Metal ? How old were you when you discovered this range of Metal ? Did you immediately started with Heavy/Doom Metal bands as teenager ?
Hmm... hard to say exactly since it's been for so long. I've been listening to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal since the early 80's. I guess my real passion for Doom and similar genres begin to grow with Bathory's epic viking albums, Paradise Lost's debut and a few other somewhat similar albums of that era. Candlemass got me with "Mirror, Mirror".

How would you describe a perfect Doom Metal composition ? According to you what are the key elements for a milestone tune in this genre ? What are your 5 favourites Doom hymns ?
I don't really know where to start here... To me, there are no kind of blueprint-doom hymn. I just like it heavy, dark and melancholic. Sometimes melodic and demanding, other times harsh and simplistic.
I cannot guarantee I'll stand for this songlist next time you ask me, but to at least try to give an impression of what I like, here I have 5 damn good doom songs for you:
Krux - Devil sun
Shape of Despair - ...In the mist
Memento Mori - Heathendoom
Bathory - Twilight of the gods
Dissolving of prodigy - Affliction

How did you end on I Hate Records for your two first records ? I think this label is very dedicated to bands they sign, and even though their financial means are limited they try to promoted them the better they can….
Simple answer ! Ola contacted us and wanted to release something. We said yes. Their dedication is endless, but as you say. Their finances are limited. Anyway, they've done a good job for us and I hope they think the same of us. We'll see whether if those two albums becomes three...

According to you, what are the main evolution between "Forevermore" and "Throne Of Void" as there only one year between each release ? I know that it's my job to review albums and compare them, but this time I'd like to get your feeling…
I believe, "T.O.V." is more homogeneous and well played. Maybe a bit darker and harsher and more vocal oriented. "Forevermore" was more shattered, but also had more dynamic. Which one you prefer is a matter of taste, I guess.
I personally prefer "T.O.V.", although I sometimes miss the variation presented on "Forevermore". Maybe a third album will get things just right...

Would you explain the cover of "Throne Of Void" ? What is this female taking in her arms the holy cross ? Does it mean that the religion links her to her own reality ?
There is no real story. We needed a cover quickly and Henka just happen to have this picture that "looked doomy enough".
But I find it interesting that you find so much meaning. Makes me think that we should choose the cover art more carefully in the future.

There's a song of your album called "Insomnia". I'd like you to explain the content of the lyrics ? Do you suffer from insomnia ? Life could turn into nightmare when you can't properly sleep, so what is your relation to this illness as I would called it illness ? Furthermore it was a mean of torture during many wars to get information from prisoners…
Since I hardly write any lyrics I have to leave this particular one to Crister.
Crister: No I'm not suffering from insomnia, but I have some troubles sleeping though due to pain in my back so I just wrote during one night when I couldn't sleep. I think it was the last lyrics for the album, we had decided to include the song on "Throne Of Void" and I felt forced to write some lyrics so that the song would be complete. I think I just wrote down what I felt there and then. I truly hope I never will suffer from this disease because as you said life will turn into a nightmare.

Let's keep on this topic, what is your feeling on religion such as Christianity that are more or less rather inactive in Europe now and on fanatic religions such as Islamism ?
To each his own. I personally don't need a religion to lean against when I make my choices in life, but I totally stand for both freedom of speech and religion.

I'm not sure I perfectly understood the message behind "Bleak" tune, but I feel like this song sums up human life like "I'm listenin g to my heart" which could be the very first living minutes, "I'm opening my eyes" that could be the early adult time in which you're starting to discover the reality, through "Time is my curse everything fades" that could be the ending life days….
Once again, I have to leave this to Crister.
Crister: You don't have to understand the message behind "Bleak correctly. I like your interpretation of the lyrics.
Actually "Bleak" is to me about a man that is reborn as an vampire. Imagine how it would be to live forever and never see the sun again. I often write lyrics in some kind of abstract way so everyone who reads the lyrics can make their own conception.

Doom lyrics meanly deal with the human curse and the very dark side of mankind, so would you consider yourself as a bleak lad, or sad guy ?
Hehe... well, not really. I've got my ups and downs just like any sane person has. I just happen to enjoy sad music. And with sad music you get sad lyrics.

As Doom Metal is always an introspection of the inner self, I'd like to know how you perceive your own life ? Do you feel wiser with passing time and what are the previous experiences that changed your mind and view of the world ?
My own life ? Hmm... I don't think my life differs that much from the ordinary Swedish guy thirty something. Ok, I've got my music, I've got my long hair and my dark clothing. Other than that, I've got my job, my friends, my strengths and weaknesses. Wiser.... maybe. But not nearly wise enough. I guess you'll never be until the day you perish. There really are no special moments or experiences that have changed my perception of life drastically. It's just a loooong sloooow process... day by day, year by year.

This question is more to Bryntse : I really like the way you sing especially on song such as "Autumn Leaves". Your vocals are both a kind of scolding and morning at the same time that according to me perfectly fit to ISOLE's music. I'd like to know how long did you work to reach this quality with your voice and who are the singers that influenced you ?
This answer is going to be cliché... I've been singing all my life, more or less, but it's not until recently (well... the last 10 years or so) that I've felt at least SOME kind of confidence with my singing. Now I'm beginning to find what's right for ISOLE. Instead I may have forgotten some other quality in my voice. Influences : well, just about anybody with a good voice, be it operatic, growling, screaming or whatever. I just have to do with what I've got and always try to push myself just a tad further every time.

Let's keep on the vocal department questions, in my "Throne Of Void" review I mentioned a connection between your vocals and the one from Solitude Aeternus's Robert Lower do you agree with me ? By the way, what is your view on their new release "Alone" ?
In some ways we may have some similarities, be it vocal lines, harmonies or some characteristic in the voice, but I think the differences are more prominent. He just has so much brilliance and power in his voice which I lack.

How does it happen that all the tunes from "Throne Of Void" are downloadable on your web site as MP3 ? I think that really sucks as everyone can get your full album without buying it, while Metal scene also needs financial support, don't you think so ? Has I Hate Records agreed with this fact ?
If you had done your lesson here you would have noticed that there are only samples/excerpts from the songs. Just a teaser (honestly I didn't download any of your songs, just saw they could be downloadable, and I never did my lesson ahaha-ed).

I sometimes feel like that Doom Metal is such a strange part of Metal that it hardly belongs to the Metal "history". I mean not many Metalheads are into Doom stuffs, and excepted for Black Sabbath, Cathedral and Candlemass, most of Metal fans hardly know any Doom Metal bands that is a shame, do you feel the same ?
That's true, of course.

I remember that back in the 80's many Thrash and Speed Metal fans considered Doom Metal music as a sleeping music. They were searching for ultra fast and straight in the head riffs with bands such as Whiplash, Kreator, Dark Angel, Possessed while Doom Metal has always delivered slow tempo compositions. I myself were much more into speed tempo releases than mid tempo albums, was it the same with you and other band members ? Furthermore, I felt that Doom Metal was the rising scene than never reached the front lights in Metal fanzines and magazines, don't you think so ?
There was a time when I though fast = good. I'm still into a LOT of fast music, but I tend to be a bit harder to convince nowadays. Henka and (especially) Jonas listens to a lot of fast stuff while Crister always have been the calm guy. Hmm.. pure Doom Metal will probably never be big.. It's just to inaccessible and demands too much of the listener.

I'd like to know if you are only into Doom Metal music or if you listen to faster Metal releases ? You come from Sweden that has/had a very active and powerful Black and Death Metal scene through bands such as Dissection (rip), Bathory (rip), Watain, Nifelheim, Entombed, Dismember and so on, what is your regard on these two scenes ? Are there any favourite extreme bands you praise their releases ?
As you learned in the previous question, I listen to a lot of faster Metal - and a lot of non-Metal, I should add. Swedish Metal in general seems to present a quite high standard. Some of my favourite faster bands are Swedish. Especially Bathory (of course, their epic era was the best), early Entombed, Bloodbath, Hypocrisy and At the gates to name a few.

A part of the Black Metal scene is divided into what is labelled as "Funeral Doom Metal" consisting of playing a kind of very depressing and slow tempo Black Metal with most of the time tortured vocals (i.e. Shining, Forgotten Tomb, Bethlehem –more dark Metal, Onskapt…) are into this scene too ?
Haven't really heard many bands in this style. The ones I can come to think about are maybe Burzum (at times) and The Funeral Orchestra. As with any genre... sometimes it's excellent, sometimes it simply sucks.

Let's speak a bit about future, when will you record your new album and do you think that it'll be signed through I Hate Records once more and how will it sound ? Do you have future plans excepted for new songs ?
I guess we can count on a new album. It's impossible to say when it will come and on what label it will be (although I HATE might be a good guess). I guess it will sound quite similar to the previous two albums since this is the kind of music we've been doing for over 15 years with this band (and its predecessor Forlorn). There are no concrete plans, but we hope to do one or a few tours later this year.

Not a very important question but why are all members pictures from your web site are pictures of sleeping guys ? Are you so much tired you can't handle a photo or did you listen to boring Doom Metal records and fall asleep before the photo session ahahah ?
Hehe.. It just happened. Couldn't find any good pictures, so we took the bad ones.

Thanks for answering these questions, I guess you finished your 16 beer pack during the interview, so end it as you wish….
I just wish I really HAD a 16 beer pack....


Franang zine 20/01/07