This step forward is nothing more than a step back compared to the past
Ignominious Incarceration is hardly the sort of band name that sticks in the mind, let alone roll off the tongue with any real ease, and that’s something that this Bath (Somerset, U.K.) outfit realised after four years using the moniker. And as a consequence, the band decided to change their moniker to The Soulless in 2010, in the hope that the change would better represent where the band currently stand, both personally and musically.
With two former releases (2008’s independently released Deeds of Days Long Gone E.P. and 2009’s full-length effort Of Winter Born, which was released through Earache Records) garnishing the band some high praise, it wouldn’t have been out of the question to expect that the band would capitalise on their early success with an even stronger release, albeit under a different name.
Unfortunately, the swapping of names isn’t the only thing that’s changed over the last couple of years, with Isolated seeing the band move away from the melodic death metal sound of their earlier releases to make way for a modern metalcore sound.
The opening track Unaltered (which is also the first to be given the promotional video clip treatment) immediately lets the listener know exactly what the band have in store for the next half an hour, with the song filled with an array of flowing technical riffing (courtesy of guitarists Steve Brown and Kristan Dawson), a crushingly heavy rhythm section (delivered from bassist Chris Ball and drummer Daniel Wilding) and a vocal presence from Andy Wardle that more than matches the band in terms of aggression. But while the band delivers plenty of venom and heaviness, the song lacks the necessary structure to stand out from what countless others have, and continue, to deliver within the overpopulated metalcore scene.
Earthbound does manage to impress a little more with its shift in gears tempo wise and its catchy choruses, as too does the touches of melodic death metal within the faster riffing on Unite Us, but overall Isolated is a fairly generic metalcore album that fails to really make an impression, or offer anything that really stands out as anything remotely unique.
Given the potential shown on Ignominious Incarceration’s first couple of releases, I was really hoping that the band would deliver that something special on their third effort. But sadly, The Soulless has decided to go for a sound that’s as easy to digest as their new name, and inevitably come up with something really bland and forgettable.
Compared to their Ignominious Incarceration days, Isolated really does live up to the band’s current moniker, with the album distinctly lacking any real soul and personality. Yes, the band may enjoy some overdue commercial success with their new name and sound, but in terms of longevity, The Soulless’ days are seriously numbered.
(Earache Records/Riot! Entertainment/Warner Music Australia)