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Isis - Wavering Radiant CD (album) cover

WAVERING RADIANT

Isis

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.00 | 169 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dim
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Isis is a band that needs no introduction, they are at the very tip of the ruthless spearhead that is post metal. Since their breakout album "Oceanic" They've influenced bands from the mammoth instro-metal band Pelican, to the brutal hardcore band The Ocean, to the psychedelic sludge band Minsk, and Isis' legacy grows with Wavering Radiant.

After what many consider their masterpiece Panopticon, the band took a new direction towards a less up tight, and slightly more primal, maybe tribal sound with In the Absence of Truth. I for one was very disappointed with that album, I felt like they were blending their sludgy sound with Tool's very open, yet technical sound, leaving me feeling like it was an unoriginal, and awkward mix. With Wavering Radiant though, I think the group found what they were looking for! Heavier textures, but with a softer, more progressive feel!

The first thing I noticed on this album is that the mixing is incredibly different. They've stepped off the distortion quite a bit so that both guitars can easily be distinguished from one another, which came out absolutely flawless! This however almost completely leaves their sludgy sound completely out in the snow, only coming up during the climaxes of Ghost key, and Hand of the Host. The bass has been turned up quite a bit, giving us the view of Jeff Caxide's incredibly melodic style of bass playing, along with his dreamy texturing achieved with pumped up delay and chorus. Thankfully both of Aaron's style of singing have been turned up significantly , so he;s not just groaning in the background anymore. I should also mention that this album is much more lyrical, more singing, more growling, giving the album more of a sense of direction, despite the lack of the standard pop structures (and thank God for that). Easily the most notable difference in the sound is the keyboards. Not only have they been pumped up considerably, but they add so much more to the music than ever before. Instead of just background chords and soundscapes, Meyer actually uses the keys for making strong melodies and even leads in some songs.

With all that being said, this album isn't ridiculously different from Panopticon or ItAoT, they stick to their roots by starting most of their songs at a slow, brooding pace, and slowly climax into incredibly heavy sections. Hall of the Dead opens the album on a different note, played to chugging guitars, and spacey keys, as the song goes on, you can hear how the song is pretty experimental with the help of Danny Carey, and some cool guitar and keyboard interplay. My favorite song though is Ghost Key For it's sludgy, and crushing climax. That being said their isn't a weak song on the album, though a little different from anything they've done, every song is solid, and plays it's role nearly perfectly as the album progresses.

The only flaws I can think of are the lack of the sludge element that was prominent before, and really added a certain dynamic to the music, and the other being the keyboards use of semi cheesy leads. I cant help but think that some of the keyboards melodies are transcendent of some synth pop leads back in the eighties. Other than that, this is an incredibly good album, no masterpiece, but a very important part for your post metal discography, and IMO, a good direction for the bands maturity.

Dim | 4/5 |

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