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Isis - SGNL>05 CD (album) cover

SGNL>05

Isis

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.25 | 20 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars The making of the band's debut "Celestial" resulted in lots of extra material but ISIS was rightfully apprehensive about releasing a double-album as a debut full-length album. Instead, the band wisely chose to release a companion album titled SGNL>05 the following year that acted as an extension for the "Celestial" experience for those who just couldn't get enough. Originally released as a separate EP, the album appears as a bonus disc on the newer deluxe versions of "Celestial."

Unlike "Celestial" that offered the first glimpse of ISIS' unique take on atmospheric sludge metal all teased out with post-rock compositions, SGNL>05 feels much more like a supplemental album that exemplifies less metal bombast and is much more experimental in the ambient and atmospheric possibilities. The EP is somewhat of a remix album of different tracks that didn't make the cut with remixer Justin Broadrick who worked with Godflesh and Jesu contributing a new version of the title track from "Celestial" now with the added "(Signal Fills The Void.)"

In fact, tracks like "Beneath Below" are more dark ambient with little or no contributions from the guitars and other metal features. "Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)" is one of the highlights that does deliver the metal goods but even here, much less so than the band's full-length releases that sandwich this oddball. The tracks are for the most part lengthy and sprawling soundscapes that evoke an emotional reaction rather than create melodic constructs and are even more hypnotically repetitive than "Celestial."

More instrumental than vocally infused, tracks like "Constructing Towers" display some of the guitar chugs that ISIS are famous for and is the heaviest track on the album. When the vocals do emerge, they are barely audible as they emerge from the suffocating din. The ambient "Celestial (Signal Fills the Void)" is the connecting track that bridges the album and this EP but is very much rooted on the electronic side of the ISIS equation with guitar sounds merely providing sonic textures to embellish upon.

Overall, SGNL>05 is a decent companion piece for "Celestial" but the far inferior of the two. I'm so glad that the band decided to release this separately or as the optional deluxe double discker because while this is a nice chill out album, it's not nearly as interesting or as fluidly dynamic as "Celestial" and if these tracks were inserted into that album's run, it would've totally derailed the flow and added way too much bloated padding that would've sunk it. With the exception of ""Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)" and "Constructing Towers," these are really just leftovers without enough appeal except for the hardcore ISIS fans. The other two tracks just mentioned are quite dynamic and could easily be slipped onto an ISIS album without much ado. Good but not essential.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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