Review: ISON – Inner – Space

The cosmic drone duo ISON, consisting of Heike Langhans, who you might know of Draconian, and Daniel Änghede, who you might know of Crippled Black Phoenix, formed in 2015. In that same year they released their debut EP Cosmic Drone, which was followed by an EP called Andromeda Skyline three years later. On September the 20th this duo released their full-length debut. This full-length debut is called Inner – Space and it’s my first experience with ISON’s music.

What an experience it is! Right from the first moments of the opening title-track ISON immediately pulls you into this album with its droning, ambienty atmosphere that works very hypnotizing. They do this in such a fantastic way that this album is getting you in its grip and doesn’t let you go until the last notes of closing track A Golden Force have faded out, a bit over one hour later. While there isn’t very much variation on Inner – Space and this album’s pace is quite slow, ISON still succeeds in this. Of course the hypnotizing effect of their music is strengthening this. There is a bit of variation to be found on Inner – Space though, but that’s minimal. A few examples of this variation are some moments when a bit of electronical influences are added, such as in ISAE, the drums sounding a bit more electronical compared to other moments, such as in that same ISAE, as well as in Equals and Radiance. In addition to that higher guitars as well as heavier-tuned guitars can be heard, just as some vocal variation is added.

What’s standing out the most when talking about the vocals are those done by Heike. Her vocals are sounding very beautiful and fitting with the music. She puts a lot of emotion into her vocals, as can be heard in for example Radiance, Shipwrecks and Everything’s About To Change Forever. The first track of those that I just mentioned, Radiance, of course is also special vocal-wise for another reason, because on that track Alcest’s mastermind Neige is contributing in a very nice way with his guest vocals. Atmospherically and sound-wise Inner – Space is already getting close to Alcest’s Autre Temps and due to Neige’s contribution to Radiance, that track could have very well fitted on Autre Temps. On top of that we can also hear some very intense screams on Radiance.

ISON’s Inner – Space is a very special, awesome album that’s best experienced by undergoing it yourself. This is an album to completely lose yourself in, to bring your thoughts to enchanting emptiness. All tracks on Inner – Space are gems, piece by piece that add to this journey making this album far from boring. With Inner – Space ISON created an album that’s fascinating from start to finish, a very well-done achievement looking at the length of this album and their musical style. ISON’s Inner – Space is a very strong album and it surely is potential year list material.

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