The marriage of ambient and screamo music is a delicate one; you’re trying to link genres which, on the face of it, are wildly different.
The former is unobtrusive and understated, easing itself out in an attempt to carefully cultivate atmosphere. The latter is a loud, defiantly unpolished blast of raw energy. If and when they converge, they must do so on that narrow, elusive characteristic of establishing emotional resonance in unconventional genres.
Nonetheless, Iselia bridges this gap deftly. Their music vacillates between impassioned post-hardcore and – relative to its companion – ethereal, peaceful ambience. It’s in their favor that this juxtaposition doesn’t feel sudden or forced; they ebb and flow effectively, emoting consistently. The music has room to breathe without losing its intensity as a result.
One of their older tracks, “These Roots, These Branches,” is a great showcase for this balancing act; it’s a musically mature song despite being early on in the band’s career, and they’ve continued to hone those talents over the half-decade they’ve been active. Additionally, Iselia manages to avoid excessively dramatic lyrics that can sometimes plague screamo acts, instead electing for poetic existentialism.
Although the band had been a bit quiet in 2015 into early 2016, they’re still at it, writing new songs and playing local shows in North Carolina.