Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle – EP Review

Artist: Haunted By Silhouettes

Album Title: No Man Isle

Label: Eclipse Records

Date of Release: 6 May 2022

As many of you will know all too well, I tend to write long reviews that go into some detail about the release I’m faced with. However, given that this EP lasts for just 16 minutes, I shall try my best to match that brevity here. The EP is entitled ‘No Man Isle’, and it comes from a Norwegian entity by the name of Haunted By Silhouettes.

What surprised me when I carried out my research, was that Haunted By Silhouettes have been around for nearly a decade. I thought that this EP might be one of their first but, as it turns out, it is their third EP to go alongside two full-length albums released so far. I’ve obviously been asleep at the wheel when it comes to this band, especially as they offer a rather palatable brand of melodic death metal, if ‘No Man Isle’ is anything to go by.

Comprised of vocalist Mathias Jamtli Rye, guitarists Per Kristian Grimsland and Stian Hoel Fossen, bassist Ola Nilsen Kjøren, and drummer Håvard Bustad, the quintet caught my ear immediately when I took an early exploratory listen. ‘No Man Isle’ may only be comprised of four full tracks and an intro piece which are gone in the blink of an eye, but it’s a really satisfying blink that’s for sure.

What I really enjoy about the music on ‘No Man Isle’ is the way that the quintet have found a good blend of old and new. The core of the band’s sound is clearly inspired by the ‘Gothenburg sound’ of the 90s, but they ensure that the songs remain relevant two or three decades later by adding a more modern edge, created through the use of synths and electronic sounds. But it’s not overdone in my opinion, so that the resultant music avoids feeling soulless.

If I did have a slight criticism though, it would be a slightly strange one. As I listen, I can’t help but feel that the music is almost too smooth, too polished, and too ‘nice’. The melodies within this EP are memorable and catchy, whilst the production is powerful and meaty. But, to be critical, melodic or not, this is death metal and there is a lack of an edge at times, which can often add another dimension to this kind of music.

But it’s a minor niggle, and aside from that, there’s not much else to bemoan.  The intro piece, ‘Departure’ is over in a flash of synths and electronics, to be replaced by a hard-hitting slab of melodic death metal courtesy of ‘Flock’, complete with memorable riffs, a satisfying growl, and powerful drumming. The chorus allows the synths to come to the fore, as the melodies make their mark. I do get mid-era In Flames echoes here, but it comes with enough of their own ingredients, that the similarities are not too overpowering.

‘Selkie’ dials back the heaviness slightly and has more of a quasi-ballad feel despite the deep growls, and features the huge talents of Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid of Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra to lend his clean vocals to the chorus. If you’re a Speed fan, this song will be irresistible to you, as it is to me, although the chorus is not quite as electric as it’s predecessor if I’m being entirely honest.

The most aggressive song on ‘Ni Man Isle’ has to be ‘Icon’, which bursts out of the speakers with barely controlled intent, and features the dirtiest riffs on this EP. Again, though, the chorus is smooth, synth-bathed, and melodic, meaning that it isn’t difficult to really warm to. There’s even room for a quit synth-led cinematic section towards the end.

And finally, we’re faced with the title track, which has a demonstrable Nordic folk feel to it. The pace is slowed, the melodies are more elegant and flowing, and there’s even an appearance from what sounds like an accordion. I wasn’t expecting this, but oddly, it works, adding a different vibe to what is a more nuanced and intriguing track overall.

Based on the content of ‘No Man Isle’, I wish it was longer, much longer. That in itself should demonstrate to you how much I like the music from Haunted By Silhouettes here. It may be a short and snappy affair, but the Norwegians make the very most of it and, in so doing, have made me sit up and take notice of a band that I previously knew nothing about. My appetite has been well and truly whetted for their next release, one for which I will keep an eager eye open. I tried to be brief, I really did!

The Score of Much Metal: 85%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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