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Isis - In The Absence Of Truth CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.74 | 174 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dark, brooding, yet somehow lacking emotion

In the world of experimental and post metal Isis is one of the bands which holds the candle to light the way for others, their music embodies just about everything the genre is about. Listening to them you get a sea of dark and brooding music. Instrumental sections with guitar not dissimilar to Tool, grumbly death mixed in with a rather nicely done bout of other more relaxed vocals. This is the kind of music that usually evokes emotion in the listener, being rather midpaced and intraflective this is the kind of music that usually holds so much passion behind its apparent angst that it can take you to the places it's been with it's evil tones. But for some reason, In The Absence Of Truth really just does not do that. There's nothing inherently wrong with the album, it's a good mixture of ideas that unfortunately comes off as one big wall of sound, and while repeated listens usually dulls this down with other albums in the genre this one just keeps getting thicker and less welcoming with each repeated spin.

Granted there's some very nice things about the album. It does still manage to set a mood, even if it doesn't immerse you into the experience, with it's dark riffs and frantic drumming at all times to make impending darkness seem imminent. The vocals are also quite good, if mixed a bit to the low side. This really isn't a band you listen to to hear the vocals however, not like some of it's genre counterparts, but the grumbling, death vocals and the actually quite soothing normal vocals on the album hold a place and I think they just need to be heard a little better. The vocals are actually what give the album the majority of it's direction and emotion, but they're just not around all that often.

The instrumental sections on the album are quite good, but they have their flaws. What happens in this album is that the band find a really good riff and section of music and then puts it on repeat, giving the album an almost evil industrial feel. This is both good and bad really, since at times it works very well and the repeated section becomes very enjoyable. Other times the background instruments seem to be directionless and wash out the leads turning the music into a very thick paste. This leaves the album feeling somewhat samey the most of the way through and while it does have some standout moments it becomes hard to tell song from song the first couple of listens through.

There are a couple of standouts in the group though, and they stand out very well. Take for example the opener Wrists Of Kings which starts out with a very larger than life sound all around as the band opens the album rather confidently. Instrumental for a while until the singing makes its grand entrance which by this point is well anticipated and welcome. A great track. Over Root And Thorn is one of the few songs that actually is able to pull the audience in for a while, it's haunting chorus and guitar section make for a very memorable piece. The closing Garden Of Light is also a strong piece, it's guitar riff being very well thought out and highly memorable.

Ultimately this is a good album which unfortunately would rather have you leave it alone than come back for more. Fans of the post metal subgenre should find a lot to like about it but may or may not be frustrated in trying to get into it. Definitely not for people who prefer their music to be fast and/or upbeat, this record will likely appeal to many, but not all. 2 gardens of light out of 5, a good listen, but not the place to start with this subgenre, fans should enjoy it though.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |


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