Southern Isolation

Southern Isolation

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Unlike virtually everything else Phil Anselmo had been involved in up to this, Southern Isolation centers around his wife Opal's writing and performance of acoustic folk music. Of course, it would be against character for it to simply be a jovial folk duo; that's why Opal is much more in tune with the Southern gothic sounds of Concrete Blonde than any other point of reference. The lazy strumming of both performers combined with the eerie backing vocals and echoing ambient sounds littered throughout make for a dark and haunting listen. "Bluebird (Make You Shine)" might be the best song here; with its fragile structure and intense vibe it creeps along with a suspenseful edge thanks to Anselmo's sweeping yet understated electric guitar work. Opal shines on the Shawn Colvin-esque "I Got Lost in Myself Again" (yes, Shawn Colvin), as she displays her earthy voice and simple approach without the spooky vibe attached to the rest of the EP. "Come Back and Let Me In" offers gorgeous acoustic guitar/piano interplay that makes her sensual groan sound all the more immediate, while the closing "The Wall of You" is a shambling collection of delicate singing and bizarre sounds that may be the quietest thing Anselmo has ever done. Pantera fans beware -- imagine a whole album of "Hollow" (from A Vulgar Display of Power) without the thrash metal outro and you get a good idea of where Southern Isolation is coming from. This EP is only a primer for the full-length album, but for a taste of some nice dark and moody music that is beautiful in its own creepy way, this is a good little EP to get.

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