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Isis - Oceanic CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.08 | 203 ratings

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4 stars After the ep "Sgnl>05" which was released in 2001, it was time for Isis to release their second studio album. The line-up remains the same. Oceanic was my introduction to Isis and still remains my favorite album of the band. It's also the first Isis album that has that unique characteristics found in the best albums released by the band.

You could tell from the previous albums that they weren't just another sludge metal band. This album has elements from many other genres. While they keep the aggressive elements from their hardcore influences they mix it with post-rock, ambient and someone could say even a few elements from alternative. The songs are slow- paced, the compositions simple and the vocals really aggressive. The killer guitar riffs of Aaron Turner and Mike Gallagher combined with the powerful minimalist drumming of Aaron Harris (which is one of the highlights of the album), Jeff Caxide's solid work in the bass and Turner's vocals (which are something between screaming and growling) create a devastating atmosphere. It's like tons of energy coming out of the speakers. There are also moments where clean guitars take over and the music becomes so spacey remind you of bands like Mogwai.

At first listen you may think (at least that's what happened to me) that the production isn't good, that the compositions are too simple and repetitive and the vocals excessive. Well after several listens I just think it's truly brilliant and very carefully written and recorded. The raw sound really helps to the final result. The compositions are just amazing. While the melodies (riffs mostly) are simple they have the ability to be played several times without loosing their power. The vocals in the whole album are really good too. Ayal Noar and Maria Christopher help with the vocals on the songs on "The Beginning and the End", "Weight" and "Carry" and create a new dimension.

This is a concept album (as usual) and reintroduces the water and female themes of past releases the Red Sea and Celestial and Sgnl>05 through a story. If you are interested into figuering out the concept either read the booklet of the album or find on the web the file with a radio interview where Turner explains the whole story. Turner is also the guy who did the artwork which is beautiful.

In conclusion, a very uniue album that many could argue wheather it belongs in the prog metal category. In my opinion it's closer to post-rock. The music, vocals, production, concept and artwork are great and as a result we have a great album. I think it's a great introduction to people knew to Isis. Try it!

sularetal | 4/5 |


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