For the fourth time now, Øystein Ramfjord somehow pulls out of the trite “New Age” genre with something new and truly inspiring. As new age-flavored electronica, his compositions are richly textured with synth, percussion, flutes, strings, guitars, and female vocalise.
The last album from Amethystium was a retrospective of the so-called “Dragonfly Trilogy.” Now with
Isabliss, Øystein sought to paint some different realms for us. The over-all tone of the album sounds brighter, following a trend within the trilogy as well. Specifically, the “eastern” vocal techniques and instruments have been exchanged for brighter, more western-sounding vocals and numerous violin passages. Both sound fantastic, and I tend to prefer this brighter vibe. However, compared to the eastern elements, their performance could stand some more emotion. Another shift is the percussion. There is both more acoustic drumming and more glitchy-ness in the electronic percussion. Isabliss contains one track that was initially released on the retrospective “Emblem.” Happily, it is not the best track on Isabliss, so the thrill isn’t spoiled. It is a fair representation of the new sound, but the tracks “Treasure” (which has full english lyric) and “Frosty Morning Bliss” really showcase it the best. I must say that the last three tracks were a let down compared to the excellent first eight.
With killer tracks like “La Pluie” (containing the most crushing variation to date of his signature synth!), “Treasure” (english lyric, yet classic Amethystium), “Anthemoessa” (great acoustic Drumming), and “Strangely Beautiful” (soaring vocals and violin)–this album has been in my player a lot!