Isenmor is a folk metal band from Baltimore, Maryland formed in 2014. After a four year hiatus, the band has returned to release its debut full length album called: SHIELDBROTHER, a totally independent work which tells us how interesting the underground metal scene is in the USA. In order to be able to record this album, Isenmor launched a Kickstarter campaign back in July and in just two months they achieved 300 percent of what they were expecting to achieve. There could be no better omen for this album.
The main hook of this band is the use of two violins as if they were guitars. Although the band has two guitarists, they don’t interact as much as the violins; in fact the band would sound pretty much the same as if they had only one guitar. The metal sound is achieved thanks to the guitar and the power of the drums. Both are the most important elements that make the music of this band so effectively powerful.
The melodic part is provided by the violins. It is awesome the technique developed through the whole album. We can listen to very fast passages as well as catchy intros. Most of the times the violin plays a melody that accompanies the voice. “Kings of the Cold Mountains” and “Furor Teutonicus ” are the songs that best crystallize the compositional intention of this band, with melodic passages born exclusively from their violins and leaving the rhythmic part to the drums and guitar.
With its elements very well established, SHIELDBROTHER is a very varied album as it handles different speeds and the voice is presented in different styles. The voice is very versatile, generally it does not come out of the guttural style, however, in some choruses, it sounds clean and is even combined with choral vocals as in “Battle Scarred”. The album ends with “Sigurd’s Song”, a true epic piece where the band exploits all its resources. This is a great debut album thanks to the challenge it meant to make it. It was recorded separately, each member took care of their instrument; and then, thanks to the support of the fans, they achieved more than an acceptable production. It is the sum of all these merits that makes SHIELDBROTHER a very special album.