He’s been around for what feels like aeons, walking the edges of the extreme, never compromising. Through bands including Taint and Hark, James ‘Jimbob’ Isaac has never been afraid of the uncomfortable style. Now, Isaac releases Self Induced Transcendental Annihilation with his new solo project Silverburn.
Silverburn – Self Induced Transcendental Annihilation (MSH Music Group)
Release Date: 11 August 2023
Words: Paul Hutchings
I remember seeing Taint open for Clutch and The Sword in the much-missed and legendary TJ’s venue around 2008. Taint ripped a hole in my hearing which took weeks to recover from.
But it’s been five years since Jimbob laid Hark to rest, and according to a recent interview, it took over two years for him to pick up his guitar again. Spawned during lockdown, Silverburn is a solo project which sees the multi-instrumentalist fire all his creativity back into the wider world.
Self-Induced Transcendental Annihilation may not sit quite in the sludgy/post-hardcore/stoner courtyards that Hark did, but there’s no mistaking the harshness that he conveys in this release. In fact, it’s difficult to pigeonhole this album at all, for it doesn’t follow one, two or even three styles.
Instead, it’s a shape-shifting album that sweeps through a landscape of multiple genres. I’ve seen the words Spirit Metal, Quantum Thrash, and post-sludgecore referred to. You can choose, for I don’t know.
Having spent time exploring and discovering the potential of home recording software, the man from Swansea has spent over two years writing, preparing, and recording Self Induced Transcendental Annihilation.
The outcome is a gnarly eight-track release that at times is punishingly heavy, invariably angry, and aggressive sounding, but ultimately carefully crafted at his Institute of Sonic Architecture studios in Wales in January 2023.
It’s a blast of ferocity that opens the album in the shape of Annihilation, dominated by a powerful double-kick delivery, which is followed by two thunderous songs in the shape of Formless Atomisation Of Omniscient Particulate and the angular, jagged chaos of Vita Potentia Animus. The latter switches to a sludgy, harrowing end, with Jimbob’s gravel-soaked roars over thick riffs and crashing percussion.
Throughout SITA, there are elements of Jimbob’s work and love of everything Metal from the ’90s, alongside a desire to draw from the more challenging Metallic Hardcore, Mathcore, and Space Metal. It’s challenging to listen to. The riffs are not easy. The sprawling time changes are uneven. It doesn’t sit well with those who prefer their Metal straightforwardly delivered.
With most songs coming at you in harsh but short bursts of discordant melancholy, it’s something of a shock to encounter the grinding Etheric Crush, which slowly uncurls over nearly seven minutes. Its rhythm moves independently of everything else, whilst his lyrics throughout the release reflect his personal philosophy, psychology, and beliefs.
A renowned artist, Jimbob has also taken his first steps into the AI world with the artwork on the album, drawing inspiration from jazz/prog/rock art legend Mati Klarwein. It fits the jarring bone shake on offer perfectly.
You can catch Silverburn at Arctangent Festival next weekend – it should be quite the event.