Leeds quartet vocalist James Dewhirst, vocalist and guitarist Rob Hemmingway, drummer Jamie Tucker and guitarist Sam McEvoy are otherwise known as Isolate. We’ve been following them since their debut EP “Koi No Umi” which dropped in March 2018, which is as solid as they come. So now it’s time to check out their sophomore effort which has appeared immediately after Hemmingway bailed out fellow Leeds natives Values by filling in on bass for the newly Stay Sick Recordings signings tour with Ice NineKills.
The sound of running water and a tension loaded riff break into some bouncy Gloom guitar work while Dewhirst’s dark thoughts are exposed in lyrical form with some uncleans which defy gravity. Off kilter slabs of guitar work drive home the steak through the vampires heart before the haunting synth introduction of “Oceans”. That synth work becomes the underpinning of the downtuned guitars buried in the mix and nuancing out during small gaps in the stuccato riffs. The addition of the clean vocals breaks the follow of the crushing uncleans with a Metalcore verse that is a little awkward at its first listen but grows to become a sing-a-long after a few spins. You might argue that there isn’t a need for the melody injection, but it does give the follow up verses Deathcore vocals a bigger hit and insures they’re not lost in the mix. A well worked solo during the songs fade out is a fine moment before “Decention” returns to the Gloom riffs with pounding polyrhythmic patterns offering a left field version of DJent groove. There are plenty of little surprises in the mix like a chiming music box that you might not hear alongside some of the booming bass drops and chugs to keep you on your toes.
Changing gear and approach “The Strid” sees Isolate replace the DJentisms with lead flourishes and bring in the cleans of “Oceans” while backing it all off with programming. The impressive speed of the Tech-Metal infused leads and return of bouncy DJent groove in the in the mid section creates more of a party atmosphere. That might seem like a strange thing to say, given the introspective nature of the of brutally delivered lyrics, but the tune is a Metal club cut if we ever heard one. Single “GreyJoy” changes the gears again and delivers a Nu-Metalcore vibe that a number of current bands are looking to achieve. The vocals are nothing but caustic and the injection of a clean verse makes it more accessible to fans of less intense music. A sample describes “the break point” as Dewhirst breaks from it describes drowning with the weight of the World tied to his feet like a chain and anchor dragging him to the dark depths. The blistering leads are masterfully done and with Tech-Metal accuracy before the dirge of DJent brings things home. Having mentioned the EP title in the previous track, “Break Point” brings back the sample in an instrumental that is a summation of the bands sound. As a concept record that crosses the act of drowning with Mental Health issues and combines elements of Nu-Metalcore, Gloom and DJent, it’s an interesting and diverse effort [7.5/10]
“Break Point” by Isolate is out now and is available here.