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Isis - Oceanic CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.08 | 203 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars A warning just popped up at me when I chose my 5-star rating for 'Oceanic' by Isis, asking me to not be hasty and to carefully consider my feelings before officially judging. I can appreciate why - Prog Archives has yet to fall prey to trolling dickheads and retains its place as one of the best progressive music sites on the net. But I must stick to my guns on this one. 'Oceanic' is not only 'Essential', I believe it is a milestone in rock music, and its effects have been felt in the five years since it was released. Its influence is trickling out steadily, affecting first Isis' peers, and now the grassroots underground is showing signs of its influence. Some very notable bands are emerging from the UK, Europe and Scandinavia who bear the hallmarks of this album.

First of all, I'm very surprised to see that this is Isis' lowest rated album on the site. Personally, I love them all - the dense guitars, the slow, uncoiling melodies, the panoramic power of these riffs... but 'Oceanic' is their masterpiece. 'Panopticon' is almost as good. 'In The Absence Of Truth' is a very interesting exploration and contains some great moments, but over all it lacks the focus of this record. And 'Celestial'? Well, that's fuckin' HEAVY, of course.

'The Beginning and The End' opens things up with a drum fill I'd now recognise from the first microsecond of sound. The strength of this track is exemplary of the strength of the rest of the album - the instruments (2 guitars, synth, bass, and very occasional vocals) lock themselves around dark, throbbing rhythms until it's time to open out, to be delicate or to be intense. Aaron Turner's epic vocal surges are perfectly placed - they are cathartic emissions of unrestrained power and emotion. Isis have the power to lead you along with a thumping groove, seduce you with sparsely beautiful, post-rock-esque melodies and then cap the whole thing off with absolutely vast doom-inflected post-hardcore riffs that peak and pummell you and then drop away quickly to silence. It is awe-insiping, honestly.

And that's enough poetic spouting - frankly, this record is a big part of what I'll remember about my youth and it will always remain one of my prize possessions. For those of you who aren't new to this scene, for want of a better term, you can say this is the logical progression of a mindset where Breach, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Neurosis and heavy-as-fuck space rock are likely to draw out equally intense emotional reactions from you.

Highlights: 'The Beginning and The End', the big riff at the end of 'False Light', 'Carry' - beautiful in its entirety, 'Weight' - the best naturally-evolving piece of music I've ever heard, and 'Hym', the last song. I've seen them play the album live all the way through. It was unbelievable.

'Oceanic' is not really a proper prog album, nor are Isis a proper prog band, but I can't not give it 5 stars. It changed the way I look at music after I bought it when I was 16. I can't hold back just because this isn't really the right place for it to be.

youllneverbe | 5/5 |


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