Wavering Radiant (05.09, Ipecac)
For: Battle of Mice, Pelican, Mono
Byline: Heavy Ghost
Isis really should have stole DM Stith's debut album's title "Heavy Ghost". Nothing would have fit Isis's new offering than Mr Stith's ambiguous title. Isis is heavy, about as heavy as anything I listen to, my ears take a pummeling after listening. While Isis embodies the roots of heavy metal Isis also exhibit an incoporeal epherial spectrum that floats freely between metal and post-rock. In fact I would say ghostly is a perfect adjective to describe their music, while it heavy enough to send anyone unfamilar with the genre fumbling for the volume, a phantasmic glimmering shine overlays every power chord and blast beat and hovers above every beautiful break down and shimmering soundscape. Isis broke new ground in 2002 with their genre defying opus "Oceanic", Isis repackaged, renewed, and recontextualized metal for a whole new generation of fans. They incorporated heavy break downs with Mogwai-ish guitar epic soundscapes, while they were not the first to slow metal down to the brass tacks they certainly were the first to gain cross-over success for doing it. "Wavering Radiant" doesn't break any new ground for the group per say, it is a further step in the right direction of metal aesthetic with post-rock's penchant for evoking a sense of longing and dread in every chord. Aaron Turner's vocals range from the death metal growl to Maynard-esqe emoting on a dime. A welcome addition to the repetoire-de-Isis is the re-emphasis away from the tribal drumming on "In the Absense of Truth" to the electronics and keyboard heavy palate of "Oceanic". Instead of relying on a shimmering bus of electronics, a real hammond organ is present throughout, making it's debut early in the colossol opener "Hail of the Dead", and an upright piano finds it's way into the mix in the blistering closer "Threshold of Transformation". Everything about this album is huge, towering, and ear-shatteringly AMAZING. Required headphone listening.