EP Review: No Man Isle by Haunted By Silhouettes (Eclipse Records)

Haunted By Silhouettes will release their brand new EP titled No Man Isle on the 6th of May 2022 via Eclipse Records.

Haunted By Silhouettes is a melodic death metal band from Trondheim, Norway. Back in Trondheim, Norway during 2013, vocalist Mathias Jamtli Rye, guitarist Stian Hoel Fossen, and bassist Fredrik Voje Vinje, felt that their early band had no future, and therefore made a decision which led to the foundation of Haunted By Silhouettes. The ambitious trio had a shared vision towards the next generation of Scandinavian bred melodic death metal, which included various aspects of attitude and a harmonious form of metalcore. Setting a course that is similar to early 2000’s In Flames, Soilwork, Killswitch Engage and Dark Tranquillity, the band (along with two additional members) created a number of notable singles and EPs. Co-founder Fredrik Voje Vinje, left the band after the debut EP, The Final Mind Plague was released in 2014.

2017 was a pivotal change for the band however, with the recruiting of guitarist, Per Kristian Grimsland. One year later, the single Iskalde Blikk changed everything and elevated them to the next stage in the market seeing them sign up with the small independent label Rob Mules Records. Prior to their engagement with Rob Mules Records, Haunted By Silhouettes released their debut album, Shortcuts to Dead Ends (2018), as an independent release.

Later on, signed to the Norwegian label, the band unleashed their sophomore, The Last Day On Earth (2019).Fast forward to present day, the band’s new EP No Man Isle, sees Haunted By Silhouettes newly signed to Eclipse Records, ready to tackle the next step in their career. The EP was planned to become a short concept story written by Mathias, inspired by poet John Donne, focusing on themes such as solitary survival, family, independence and societal humanity.

Vocalist Mathias explains:

“No Man Isle centers around a middle-aged divorced man that decides to cut all ties with the world, and to live on his family’s deserted island for the rest of his life. He travels to the island and a lot of mysterious things happen that seem to be connected to his uncle’s disappearance from the island 40 years earlier.”

Haunted by Silhouettes are a 5 piece consisting of Per Kristian Grimsland (guitar, vocals), Mathias Jamtli Rye (vocals), Stian Hoel Fossen (guitar), Ola Nilsen Kjøren (bass) and Håvard Bustad (drums).

Haunted By Silhouettes No Man Isle Band

We have 5 tracks and around 16 minutes of metal to get stuck in to.

No Man Isle gets underway with a short introductory track called Departure. It’s very short but very cool with a bit of an old school synth sound backed by the explosions of a war scene. It gets you in the mood, ready for Flock to drop in an explosive of heavy riffing and gruesome death metal vocals. Hard riffing and explosive drumming combine to create a pit inducer of a song. A transition into the chorus really does raise the song to new heights. The rhythm is a head banger and while the vocals stay harsh, the new melodies that join in the background are mesmerising – it’s still viciously heavy but also intensely catchy. We get the return of that intro song’s melody – that added synth – and it works so well. I genuinely love it and it really elevates the song. An absolutely cracking opener.

That’s how you get people’s attention – and Haunted by Silhouettes have plenty more tricks up their sleeve. Selkie follows next and features the living legend that is Björn Strid (Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra, Terror 2000). Selkie is a wonderful song and is so different to Flock, it excites me to see the level of variety across the two songs so far. Starting with a haunted melody and hushed whispers in the background, a booming roar kicks the song in with a punchy rhythm joining the haunted melody. We move swiftly through sections with a booming death section full of rumbling bass and dirty riffs before an epic sounding chorus full of cleans and darkened beauty. Piano melody forms bridges between the aggressive sections and the heavy but insanely infectious grandiosity of the chorus. This song is huge – a melodeath masterpiece.

Icon sees the band return to the attack with a pit destroying track full of intensity and aggression. The energy is fantastic yet within the swirling rage there is a catchiness and groove that absolutely sucks you in. Just wait for that chorus to drop with the faded melody joining the backing and a rhythm to the vocals that make them sound perfectly like an additional instrument and not just singing. I am blown away by No Man Isle and Haunted by Silhouettes – this is genius. So heavy, yet well crafted and jam packed with groove and intelligence. And we still have the title track, No Man Isle, to go.

And wow – what a way to get the excitement up – a cleanly sung passage suddenly stops and sees the music explode into life with a wicked melody and dark intense atmosphere. Powerful rough vocals scream out over a gentler, bassy line before clean vocals take over the rest of the verse. The tempo jumps up and the harsh vocals return, along with a jump in drum speed and riffing, into a head banging section. That then transitions into a chorus that manages to feel equally heavy and majestic somehow. The combination of the heavy vocals with the clean is gorgeous and the subdued melody backing the powerful rhythm section vibrates your very being. Add in a deep and thought provoking solo that fades slowly out to allow a sudden explosion back into the heavier section to have a full impact and you have yet another top class song.

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I am absolutely blown away by what Haunted by Silhouettes have created here. The thought I had, over and over, while listening to No Man Isle, the EP, was “this is the best melodic death metal release I have heard in years”. That seems high praise maybe but I think it is true and that is how good this is. It may be short but what we have here is quality over quantity. An exciting, creative, intense and intelligent piece of art that absolutely has to be heard. Amazing.

Do yourself a favour and preorder or presave No Man Isle from this link – you won’t regret it.

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No Man Isle by Haunted By Silhouettes (Eclipse Records)
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