"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Order of Isaz - "Seven Years of Famine" (CD)

Order of Isaz - "Seven Years of Famine" CD cover image

"Seven Years of Famine" track listing:

1. The Coalesce (5:12)
2. The Blackened Flame (5:09)
3. Screeching Owl (5:08)
4. Dancing Shadows (4:35)
5. Drowning (4:49)
6. Umbra Sombra (6:10)
7. Father Death (6:11)
8. Spirit (5:27)
9. The Dying Star (8:14)

Reviewed by on March 19, 2014

"'Seven Years of Famine' fills a needed niche in the metal landscape, as there aren't too many of the gothic rockers who are clearly on the metal side still around putting out quality material."

Although technically “Seven Years of Famine” is the debut full-length from Order of Isaz, the group has quite a few years of experience under it's belt and can only nominally be considered a “newcomer.” Featuring bassist Johnny Hagel (who was a member of Tiamat during that band's formative years in the mid-90's) and vocalist Tobias Sidegård (formerly of Necrophobic), Order of Isaz isn't quite a “super group,” but it is made up of well established members of the scene who know what they are doing and offer up a high quality gothic rock/metal hybrid.

“Seven Years of Famine” fills a needed niche in the metal landscape, as there aren't too many of the gothic rockers who are clearly on the metal side still around putting out quality material. Many of those bands have gone too far into the soft and atmospheric side, or go full on death metal with only a gothic aura surrounding the music. Order of Isaz hits a steady medium that doesn't lose the atmosphere and brings to mind the glory days of the genre.

A decidedly dark experience, the album as a whole is very well rounded, ranging from acoustic parts to a smattering of death growls and even a few backing female vocals. Songs like “The Coalesce” do have a strong feel along the lines of Tiamat, but much of the disc breaks out of that mode and has more of a unique identity. The album also has a satisfying flow, keeping steady between slow moving dirges and more energetic songs on the rock side.

With a strong connection to the early days of the style coupled with a new sound, “Seven Years of Famine” is easily a solid choice for fans of anything leaning into the gothic side, from Ashes To Ashes to Paradise Lost.

Highs: Great gothic rock with enough metal to keep it interesting

Lows: Some of the over top the vocals go too far, and the slower atmospheric parts may not work for some metal fans who want something more extreme.

Bottom line: Gothic rock/metal fans have a new band to get excited about featuring former members of Tiamat and Necrophobic.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)