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Isis - Wavering Radiant CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.02 | 202 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars WAVERING RADIANT--the pinnacle of Isis' achievement and along with Panopticon, an essential piece of post-metal. Though I feel that the first few tracks are readily accessible and that the album as a whole is a complete masterpiece, this is an album that does require some extended listening to discover all that it has to offer. As a whole, I would describe this album as having a melancholy and yet powerful feel to it, somber and yet triumphant. This is a great album to listen to on a hi-fi stereo due to its great production or with a good pair of headphones. The atmosphere that is typical of Isis is still present, though through great production you can hear more than ever before. The tone of the guitars (especially the bass) is fantastic. The effect heavy bass that has come to be a trademark of Isis is better than ever; it has a quality at times that makes it seem as if it is breathing; it's absolutely stunning. The addition of synths and keys on this album simply adds to the glorious texture of the album. The presence of the keys is classy and appropriate, not overdone or cheesy. The drumming on this album leaves absolutely nothing to be desired; it is leagues above over Isis albums, save for maybe In the Absence of Truth. If the drumming on Panopticon left you uninspired, look no further. Aaron Harris really stepped it up on this album, playing flawless and memorable fills and beats that truly solidify this album. The juxtaposition of parts on this album is extraordinary, they all serve a greater purpose, acting in a thesis, antithesis, synthesis sort of way. They build and they build, and finally explode into stunning climaxes.

The first three tracks, Hall of the Dead, Ghost Key, and Hand of the Host, are three awesome songs that would make a great introduction to Isis. They are very accessible, and by having catchy guitar parts and the breathtaking atmospherics that Isis does so well, they could hook any new Isis listener in an instant. One moment that sticks out for me is a longer part in Hall of the Dead where they build up a wall of trance inducing guitars, somewhat dirty but not completely, and then they come in with a stunning full out guitar rhythm that is simply awe inspiring. The clean vocals on this album are much more present, and Aaron has really improved the quality of his clean vocals. They share an almost equal part with the dirty vocals, which I think is a great move for Isis. The fourth track, Wavering Radiant, is a Tool-esque noise type song that serves as a divider for the album.

The next three songs, though a bit more rough than their predecessors, are stunning in their own right, and as said earlier, these are the tunes that will take a bit more dedication to really understand their greatness. Stone to Wake a Serpent starts with a fantastic side stick drum beat which, as said earlier, is a great move for Harris on drums; it really displays his versatility. Some great tom-work on this song as well, at time it's tribal and hypnotic, and perfectly suited for the album. 20 Minutes/40 Years was the albums single, though I think that Hall of the Dead would have served much better as such. It's spacey intro provides a nice foundation for the song and they take this foundation and build greatly upon it. The riff at about 2:00 has an awesome, grooving chord progression. Hypnotic would be a fine word to describe this song, long sections of ambience induce trance like states of mind. The outro is one of the best parts of this album as well, a stunning climax to the entire song. Is there is one thing that Isis does well, it's end albums on a good note. Threshold of transformation suggests a metamorphosis in its title, and it makes a statement right away by starting with a fury of rhythm and heavy vocals. This leads into an effect heavy vocal part over a powerful chord progression. Using this thesis, antithesis, synthesis format, they go through an atmospheric section to again go into another stunning rhythm part, heavy and laden with changing time signatures, it directs itself into one of the best parts of this album, a groove heavy and bass lead part that is so glorious and powerful that it simply cannot be ignored. Unexpectedly, they sift gears after this part and navigate through a somber section that leads into what is ultimately the bookend and conclusion of the album. If there is any way to end an album, it is in this such way--all the energy built through the entire work is put into this section, and you can feel it deeply, and when it is at its absolute climax, it is pulled away and that breathing bass tone adds an aspect of life to the album--as if it was taking a breath after being finished. Everything on WAVERING RADIANT ensures its place as a masterpiece in my mind, and as with any good piece of progressive music, it only gets better with time.

Fio | 5/5 |


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