The Bottom Line
A depressing but compelling black metal journey.
- One of the few black metal bands with an authentic, distinct voice.
- Conjures frightening and vivid mental images.
- Released October 26, 2010 by Candlelight Records.
- Features Joseph Van Fossen (Noctuary), bassist Wrest (Leviathan), and drummer Chris Grigg (Woe).
- Recorded at Volume Studios in Chicago with producer Sanford Parker.
Guide Review - Krieg - 'The Isolationist'
On the surface, Krieg’s new album The Isolationist doesn’t contain anything other black metal albums don't have in spades. Buzzing guitars, screeching vocals and haunting noises all merge together into a toxic brew. Inexperienced listeners couldn’t tell the difference between this and garden variety black metal. Those who know better can quickly determine that The Isolationist is a special album and one of the year’s best black metal releases.
It’s not the raw material that counts here, but rather what Krieg mainman Imperial does with what he’s handed that makes it so impressive. The Isolationist sounds like a cry for help and a defiant declaration of independence. He doesn’t say he is depressed or in pain as much as he makes you feel each turbulent emotion and troubling thought.
Every riff, blastbeat and the well-chosen soundbite counts. The album is the audible equivalent of Evard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream.” Want to feel pain and anxiety translated into music?
The Isolationist is a good place to start.
This isn’t kiddy goth stuff, either. Leave the black lip gloss at home. The album’s dark material is handled with care and grace. What separates bands like Krieg, Shining, Leviathan and Xasthur from most black metal is their ability to leave a personal imprint on an art form that sounds inflexible and even boring in the wrong hands. Imperial and co are seasoned storytellers ready to open up a tormented psyche on songs like “Photographs from an Asylum,” and “Depakote.”
The Isolationist has the power of Leviathan’s Tentacles of Whorror mixed with the Sylvia Plath touch of Shining’s V: Halmstad. Krieg's 2004 album The Black House was an accomplishment, but this album goes even further. Abandon all hope and listen to The Isolationist.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.