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Isis - Wavering Radiant CD (album) cover

WAVERING RADIANT

Isis

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.06 | 164 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Wavering Radiant' - Isis (8/10)

I remember the day I heard Isis broke up. A fairly overcast day by all accounts, and I was left hating myself for never getting tickets to the last show the post-metal giants would ever play in Vancouver. One of the sadder music moments in 2010 to be sure, but they can't be said to have left the scene without one last great album. While not my favourite of the works Aaron Turner and company have crafted over the course of their career together, 'Wavering Radiant' concludes the Isis saga with a dark and brooding piece of metal no less worthy a contribution to their catalogue than any other.

Musical comparisons to the band Tool are certainly no stretch of the imagination; it feels as if through their contact, Isis has assimilated part of that band's bass-heavy sound and rhythmic builds into their own formula. While I might not like Tool, these new elements do add a dark feeling to the music that really works. The tracks here are generally drawn out with sludgy riffs, psychedelic ambiance and Turner's distinctive baritone. The music is well- played, but moreso in the great choice of timbres as opposed to any flamboyant technical playing, of which there is none here. Instead, Isis opts for an ironically mellow approach to their metal; while there may be growls and heavy riffs here, the sound never feels out of control. This high sense of calibration and intention throughout the songwriting makes the heavier moments feel a bit boring. Isis' strength here however lies in the more atmospheric segments of the music, which are done absolutely masterfully here.

The lighter, more post-rock oriented moments of 'Wavering Radiant' turn out incredibly; mixed generously with psychedelic effects and experimentation with noise effects. On top of this, Aaron Turner's clean vocals work perfectly for this style of music, equally as brooding and as downtuned as the guitars themselves. The sludgier sections of the album are a bit more hit-or-miss, especially towards the second half of the record. While the first three tracks of A-class material, the interlude title track onwards can be a bit more of a bumpy ride, resulting in a closing track ('Threshold of Transformation') that feels like it simply peters out, rather than delivering a real climax to the music.

A great album overall, although it does feel as if Isis has left us with a would-be masterpiece; one that could have easily become a classic with a few improvements and extra considerations put into the sound.

Rest in peace, Isis.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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