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  • This album is simply brilliant. Isis creates a truly “oceanic” sound that would cause Devin Townsend to rethink the sound of the metal sea. I’m lacking much reference for describing Isis, since this is the only album by them I have heard. The music is technically simple, but texturally and compositionally sublime. It has a big, full, beautiful sound rivaled by few, which is especially remarkable since the lineup is basically just a straight-up metal band. All elements are used for macro-effect rather than micro-effect. The primitive beauty of the riffs, the rigid, closely-knit rhythmic integration, and the huge heaviness (but heaviness of the ancient weight of water, not military bombardment) give the music a great mystical power. The hardcore screams appear to be an odd choice with music so atmospheric, but within seconds you realize how well it fits. Some parts can be extremely minimal in their compositional core, and yet with the band’s incredible sound the repetition is not dull or hypnotic, but deeply invigorating. The band’s grasp of dynamics is Tool-like but resulting in a far different, primordial effect. It sounds like a metal band tapping into the very _ancientness_ of the ocean. I can’t really describe any individual pieces because I don’t know the song titles that well because when I listen to it I just think of it as a seamless epic, and I don’t consciously think about where the songs are ending and beginning. But it is a holistic piece as a work of music and a sonic experience. Most incredible is the album’s atmosphere. It is raw, powerful, and enthralling like the siren’s song. Definitely recommended to fans of “ocean metal” like _Ocean Machine_. In fact, this is even better.

    Posted on March 16, 2010