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



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4 stars I'm new to the review game, so bear with me as I try this on for size. I've been listening to progressive music for 20+ years & this cd is as good as prog metal gets. I'm listening to it as I write this & I keep turning it up!! The songs blend into one another effortlessly. Although most songs are over 7 minutes long, I never wanted to skip any of them. PLAY IT LOUD!! ISIS should continue to make cds like this! Highly recommended!!
Report this review (#89036)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The more I listen to this album, the more I think this is exactly what this band should sound like. It seems like this album is truly the sound they've been searching for since they took that progressive dive into "Oceanic". Isis once again manage to create their signature sprawling, spaced-out metal that derives influences from the dirty art-metal of Neurosis and Godflesh, as well as the psychedic Pink Floyd, the epic post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and the impenetrable layers of shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride. The songs on "In the Absence of Truth" are comparable in sound to those on "Panopticon" and "Oceanic" in that they rely heavily on dynamics that flow from clean guitar harmonies to crushing, distorted metal grooves, but flow so evenly you don't even notice it's happening. This time around, the clean guitars are cleaner and the parts seem more tightly composed. The most noticeable difference is that there is a great deal more emphasis on drums. Some of the drum beats seam almost tribal in nature, and there are a lot more changes in tempo than we had become accustomed to on the previous releases. The production is tighter all around as well, and the inclusion of synthesizers has become noticeably more prevalent. It seems the band has really found their sound and they're riding it as far as it will go. However, the songs still have enough variation to keep the album interesting from start to finish. According to vocalist Aaron Turner, "In the Absence of Truth" is a concept album based on Islamic cult leader Hassan-i-Sabbah, Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Mark Danielewski's "House of Leaves" and Borges' "Labyrinths" (according to a Rock Sound interview), so this album will provide many interesting listens to come. The standout tracks for me are "Not in Rivers, but in Drops", "Dulcinea" and "Holy Tears". Isis have made a true five star album here, and it should appeal to all fans of progressive metal and post-rock, or any open-minded fan of good music.
Report this review (#99579)
Posted Monday, November 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Writing a review for your favorate album of all time is a rather difficult task. On this album, or rather during this experience, Isis are both the heaviest and the quietest band you've ever heard and the experience is infanatley rewarding. Production quality is absolutly perfect and distinguishing each insturment throughout the album is very easy. Even so, the layering is so complex and beautiful that with each successive spin treats the listener to somthing new. I never thought I would find myself listening to such loud and harsh music but when accompanied with such beutiful quiet sections and breathtaking build-ups, this music is hard not to listen to.

On this album, Isis continue to evolve their sound, continuing thier path toward a more melodic destination. With Celestial, they retained the dirty and heavy metal sound that they had on their EPs. With Oceanic, the band was hailed as the first Post-Metal band, adding lengthy and quiet atmospheres with which the band could build upon for the ultimate explosion of sound. On Panopticon, the band expanded on this new sound with more quiet but still mostly dirty vocals, more spacey sound effects, and more melodic guitar layering. Finally, on In The Absence Of Truth, Isis reach the point of destination that they might have been looking for all along. as said by another reviewer, " ...this is exactly what this band should sound like." Yes folks, this music is that good.

Each individual appears to give it their all on this CD. -Aaron Turner's vocals are now mostly melodic but still hard to understand and his roll as a guitar player is just as important as Michael Gallagher's -Aaron Harris' drum work is now much more tribal, much like Danny Careys of Tool, using alot more toms and double bass pedal. -Michael Gallagher's soaring lead guitar parts are absolutly fantastic during the heavier parts and his ambient guitar build ups, along with Aaron Turner, provide for an awsome experience. Having been in the front row of an Isis show right next to Gallaher and Caxide was completely awsome. -Cliff Meyer's keyboard and sound effects really add alot to the melodic element of the music and he joins the two guitars on occasion for the fabled triple guitar build up. -Jeff Caxide is probably my favorate as his bass lines are amazingly inventive and his use of effects makes just about every other bass player with effects pale in comparison exept maybe Mariusz Duda of Riverside. He isn't afraid to play high up on the fret board and the mix and production is often on his side, letting his brilliance shine through in many lead parts and awsome bottom ends.

Each song on this CD is absolutly brilliantly crafted and composed. Not one single minute of this 64 minute experience gets boring or over the top. My favorates are Dulcinea, Holy Tears and Garden Of Light for their intelligent build ups and their ambient atmospheres. Each of these three songs show how quiet and brutal Isis can be in one song. -Dulcinea probably shows the biggest growth from Panopticon, with Aaron Turner actually singing in a haunting way and the drums being utilized extremely well. Words can't really do justice to this song as the buildup is seamless from a beutiful verse part to a crushing middle section and then all of the sudden all that is left is quiet cymbals and spacey guitar, leaving you to bask in their depth until the song contiues with the piano and toms really showing what they can do. The double guitar here is awsome with one doing some chords and one playing a beautiful lead. Bass effects are really used to the best of their ability and it really shows Jeff's creativity. The crunchy climax comes all too soon with some double bass pedal and heavy power chords with a higher melodic guitar. -Holy Tears starts off with violent power chords and in the background some actual piano until very suddenly the instruments quieten to let Aaron sing a verse line, only to launch back into a lound part seconds later and some growling. Once again the violence calms itself and the bass line is left alone. The effect in which he uses is awsome and the three other melodic insturments come in with the high hat and snare to really add to the build up, in my opinion the best ambient section in any piece of music. Near the end, each guitar part gets my head spinning with the depth of it. Some long notes escape Turner's mouth before the power chords kick in, followed by an awsome lead higher part and then followed by some synchopated chords and a brilliant bottom bass line and then a cool piano pitch bend bend. -Garden of Light starts out like Maritime from the Oceanic album, showing some recurring musical themes in Isis' music. The first sixth of this song is an ensemble build up and is very coherent, only to be broken up soon by power chords and some raw vocals. This dissonant part, while at first to my liking, only adds to the coherentness of the next build up part which contains more moderatly fast guitar and quick drum work. Back and forth we go until about half way, where Turner says his last words of the album. Now only the drums are left , playing a sweet beat on the toms and soon the bass and one guitar comes in. This is where the fabled guitar trio perform there absolute best. layering and building upon eachother in an infinate swirl of sound and space which is fabulously dipicted in the cover art. Soon the drums become more and more present, adding double bass pedals and some heavy cymbal work. All too quickly the guitar performs one last flourish and the band proceeds to play the outro which contains beutiful delayed guitars and big present bass line. Two final, beutiful chords sound and end my favourate album in the best possible way.

I cannot reccomend this album enough. The intelligent use of dynamics and tone from each insturment is absolutly stunning and this will never be easily dethroned as my favorate album. See them live. Buy their music. Feel the Isis experience.

Report this review (#125975)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Loved this post-rock, spacey, mind-bending release. Great music and musicianship. Perhaps not as evocative as GYBE but just as powerful. These guys use their instruments to great effect, delivering a hypnotic vibe over which layers of riff and melody are woven. And it's these interwoven layers that make this such a rewarding listen. I pick out some new sound, effect, or musical passage with each listen. An outstanding release.
Report this review (#136149)
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Isis return for a masterpiece.

Isis, arguably the godfathers of post-metal along with Neurosis, release a stunning album after 2004's genre-defining Panopticon. Aaron Turner experiments with more melodic vocals, building along with slower climaxes than earlier Isis albums. Drummer Aaron Harris keeps the drumming more tribal than previous albums, and I see some clear influences from Tool. The guitar duo of Mike Gallagher and Aaron Turner keep the guitars light and spacey when it's necessary and brutally heavy when the epic climaxes occur. Isis take it where they've never been before.

Recommended for all fans of post-rock, post-metal, and progressive metal in general.

Report this review (#144552)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the absence of truth is the best ISIS album yet. If your into prog metal or post rock take some time to listen to this amazing album. Isis is getting better with each release. The whole album makes you want to hear more as it goes on. The music they create is very epic. The stand out tracks on this album are Dulciena,holy tears,not in river but in drops,wrists of kings,and my fave is Garden of light. This is just a beautiful song, i never get tired of it . For prog metal i think should be one of the top albums to hear. This band has alot more to offer in the future. They can only get better. this album is must for a music fan.A masterpiece.
Report this review (#145802)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first time I heard about Isis, was like a Hardcore band, and I wasn't too interested in them, so I didn't listened to them. Then I saw many Prog Metal listeners that recommenden me to listen to Isis, and I was like "Isn't that a hardcore band"?, and they said to me that they used to be a Hardcore band, but now they are something very different to what they used to be. Also, by that time I wasn't very familiarized with Post-Rock, so, I didn't knew what to expect from Isis. Then, I got convinced to listen to them, and I got Panopticon, and instantly, my thoughts about Isis were changed, the music amazed me, and some time passed and I continued listening to Panopticon, then one day I decided to listen to their latest album, In The Absence of Truth, then I got it, and I was more amazed than the first time I listened to Panopticon, In The Absence Of Truth is a truly amazing album, from start to end, it catches you.

Now, let's start with the music, it sound like an instrumental and heavier Tool with some vocals and growls, with Post-Rock influence in the vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and heavy riffing. The music really catches you in an acid trip without taking any drugs, in my case, the music of this album not only makes a beautiful sound, it also creates an atmosphere, and it even gives me the sensation of creating images with the music. Though there is some vocals in here, the songs don't really need vocals, the atmosphere created is enough to enjoy this album, but also, the growling makes me imagine the image that has been created, being broken. Really, there is much more than only instrumental playing here, and I think instrumental playing should be like this and not only showing off how many "talent" and technique you have, like many bands do, guess about what I'm talking about, heh.

And well, what can more I add?, this album is a must for Prog Metal and Post-Rock listeners, both will be pleased by hearing this.

Report this review (#148712)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the culmination of everything Isis has helped to develop. The atmosphere, the dynamics, the punchy beats, the climaxes, everything the band has been known for, are all at their strongest points on In the Absence of Truth. From the start of the album, with the tom beat and slowly increasing density leading to a serious groove and onward to the crushing riffs of post-metal fame, you know this is going to be something else.

The sound is clearly Isis, but there are some differences prevalent on this album. First, there is an added stress on the rhythm which results in some awesome drum & bass grooves, tribal beats, and more exciting builds & heavy sections. Second, the vocals are a bit different here. They still get the same relatively low levels in the mix, but there are more sung parts, and while vocals have never been Isis' strong area, they work out well here. Third, there is a more prevalent sonic and electronic element to the music. This is most obvious in the tracks "All out of Time, All into Space," a 3-minute soundscape and "Firdous e Bareen, which is an instrumental track with a constant electronic rhythm/soundscape at varying levels throughout the song.

It's hard to pick highlights on this disc, everything from the tribal intro in "Wrists of Kings" to the beautiful melodic closing in "Garden of Light," this album is huge and awesome and so on. This band just keeps getting better. I think to myself how much I love this sound, but I'm very curious to see if they can re-invent their sound again and stun me like they have here.

Report this review (#150864)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I don't understand, what happened to Isis? Instead of tight primal drumming, and thick, trippy lead lines, I get a Toolish drummer, a singer who loses the eeriness of his voice, and a post rocky guitar player? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isis is the band that got me into post metal, I consider Panopticon, and especially Oceanic, some of the defining albums of the genre, and this comes out?

From the first couple of seconds of the album, I knew I was in for a surprise, tom drumming, funky tortoise arpeggios, and a phased voice... I was confused, but open minded, and was sure things were going to go up, but little did I know it was only going to get worse. Distorted guitars did not make their intro until the last minute, clean vocals were being sung throughout the entire song, and the stupid tom drumming was ceaseless, Isis, what happened to the sparse vocals, crunchy sludgy guitars, and quintessential drumming. Things werent looking good, and they only got worse, every song was basically the same thing, while not in rivers, 1000 shards, and garden of light have some excellent guitar and vocal moments, nothing stood out, no emotion was being displayed, and most importantly, the trippy lead lines are almost completely gone! Structure wise, it's not bad, the album flows kind of like panopticon straightforward song in the beginning, mellower, more eclectic songs in the middle, and a big bang at the end.

I don't know if I'll ever get used to the change in guitar, I absolutely hate the drums, but if the vocals were to cut back a little bit, it would save the band from such a wrathful review. I might be able to get use to the new vocal style, but I think the vocals are just too prevalent in this album. I guess I should admit, I'm not too big of a fan of change, but I can tolerate some, In the absence of truth went a bit overboard, and the one that they let go of that may have made the album a little more interesting was the spaciness of Panopticon, who knows though, they may bring back some of the old sound in their next album. 2 stars.

Report this review (#161991)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
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.

Report this review (#174900)
Posted Monday, June 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH is my first Isis experience, and I must say, I have enjoyed very much what I hear on this record.

I have owned this album for quite some time now, and while I set off to review it once upon a time song-for-song, fate had other plans and I never managed to finish the review.

Now I have decided to review the record differently, giving a general overview rather than a track by track basis. Why is this? Well, I feel the album as a whole speaks more powerfully than just listening to select tracks. In short, it is a complete experience. I've taken the time before reviewing this record because I wanted to make sure that the initial high I was on upon first listen died down so I could review this album fairly. The conclusion I have ultimately come to is that the record, while very good, is probably not going to appeal to all that many people here on the archives. Why? Well, mainly because their metal aspects are very prevolent and in your face most of the time, with pounding, relentless drums that sound like a benediction, death metal growls mixed in with soft, melodic vocals, and heavy guitar chording.

Why is this band progressive then, you ask? Well, it is actually very difficult to put my hand on, but I will say this: the more and more you listen to this album, the more and more layers you uncover. There is so much depth and richness to this seemingly straightforward release that it's actually mind- boggling that as many people like them as they do. Oh no, I love Isis nowm, but there was a time when I didn't quite get it. I thought this album was very good, but didn't really understand what was progressive about it. Now, after many subsiquent listens, I can confodently state that this is a prog rock album through-and-through despite what you may think at first.

For every growl, there is a beautiful dream-like melody sung. For every heavy guitar chord, there is a light, spacey solo. These odd dichotomies really help the album feel rich and full of surprises around each corner. Like I have said, it may take a few spins before the real magic of the record begins to sink in, but ultimately there is enough psychedelia and odd time signatures here to satisfy the progger within us.

I say that this album and band won't appeal to many people because in my view, these guys are very similar to Tool; there aren't enough OBVIOUS progressive elements to the music to jump out at the lister at first, and alot of people just don't have the patience to discover what truly makes Isis special. So while I may enjoy the record immensly, I know many other people will wave it away as just another Nu-Metal album with nothing to offer. It is clearly prog, however.

The best description I can give of this album's sound is Tool meets Brian Eno. Maybe not the best way to explain it, but the truth is that, much like fellow Post-Metalers Tool, it is very difficult to pinpoint an exact sound for Isis. They are very ambient at times, while others they are as heavy as Opeth. One major difference between Tool and Isis though is that while Tool's music is often cold and harsh even at the best of times, Isis' music has a much warmer, softer vibe to it, despite the growls. The clean guitar sections are some of the most beautiful tunes played since Animals, yet the substance begins to fall away completely after a while.

IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH is an album that will appeal to some, but turn most listeners away. There is alot to offer, but the outer coating will push alot of people away before the true core can even begin to be reached. Because of this, I cannot bring myself to rate it anything above a three right now. That doesn't mean I don't adore the record, but I feel alot of my praise is based more on personal taste than general classification and opinion. I think when looked at from a completely unbiased point of view, the record only appeals to a specific audience, and while I may think it's great, others may find it only 'okay'. So, my personal rating of this piece would have to be a four, but my archives rating is going to have to be a three. Sorry, Isis, but maybe your next record will branch out a little more.

Report this review (#180794)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars One can probably see where Isis was aiming on In the Absence of Truth. An album focusing a bit on atmosphere, creating a mystical aura among a somewhat heavy album. Isis probably meant for it to be haunting and meditative, though on many accounts of this album it misses the mark. Although the atmosphere on the album is atmospheric, it will most likely dissapoint fans of this type of music.

Most of In the Absence of Truth seems to lack passion or inspiration. One could wonder if they were lost on ideas when making this album. Guitar lines repeat but really don't build. Rather, once the band feels that their idea has come across, they seem to go to another section entirely in the song. Most of the album is percussion-based, with lots of toms on the drums along with syncopated or off time beats. The guitar is mostly clean, though the melodies seem to wander a bit aimlessly, and repeat quite a bit with their uninspired hooks. Vocals are clean a lot of the time, but really don't add much to the rest of the music, whether trying to make the album more haunting or adding to the heavyness of the sound by growling.

Bottom line, In the Absence in Truth is probably not something to rush out and get. Isis fans may enjoy it, though others may feel that it's directionless and lacks the heavy epic passion of their previous work. For most prog fans, they should probably just skip this one.

Report this review (#219042)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In The Absence Of Truth is the fourth full-length studio album by American post metal/ experimental metal act Isis. The album was released on the 30th of October 2006 through Ipecac Recordings and produced by Isis and Matt Bayles.

The music further explores the direction that Isis began on Oceanic (2002) and later perfected on Panopticon (2004) Which means post metal with heavy slow riffs and mellow atmospheric post rock sections. This time the vocals are mostly clean sung though and the shouting aggressive vocals are pretty sparse. The same can be said about the amount of heavy post metal parts compared to the amount of atmospheric post rock parts. While the distribution on Oceanic (2002) was 70% heavy riffs and 30% atmospheric riffs and the distribution on Panopticon (2004) was 50% heavy riffs and 50% atmospheric riffs the scale has tipped even more on In The Absence Of Truth as the distribution is now 30% heavy riffs and 70% atmospheric riffs. This will probably please some and annoy others. I enjoy that Isis has made an album that doesn´t sound exactly like its predecessors. The clean vocals are not the most convincing I´ve heard though and a bit more practise in that department could have propelled this album to a higher state. One of the things I enjoy greatly on In The Absence Of Truth is the drumming by Aaron Harris which got an almost tribal like feel to them at times ( think Tool). The songs are generally pretty long and slow building which is business as usual for Isis.

The production is a bit warmer than on previous releases.

While it´s obvious that Isis still kneel at the altar of Neurosis and probably always will, I find that the music on In The Absence Of Truth explores new ground too and Isis is still a very worthy listen for fans of the genre. My rating is somewhere between 3.5 - 4 stars but I´ll round it up to 4 stars as this album is certainly way too accomplished to receive a 3 star rating even though it´s not flawless by any means.

Report this review (#224568)
Posted Sunday, July 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the Absence of Truth was my first experience with the post metal genre, and I must say that I was quite pleased. Isis combines the atmospherics of many post rock bands (GY!BE comes to mind) with metal instrumentation, including plenty of distorted guitar. The songs aren't different enough from each other to merit a song-by-song, though they don't all sound the same. Basically, each song combines guitar and bass in various forms with drums to create a dark and menacing atmosphere. The only problem is the vocals and the length. When the singing is clean, it sounds great- but the growling parts really strike me as annoying, though I usually dislike growling in a vocal context, and I know there are others who share this opinion. As far as length goes, there isn't really enough diversity or stylistic change for over an hour's work, and some of the mellower, quieter spacey parts, like the first two minutes of Over Root and Thorn, could easily be omitted. Overall, it is an interesting and very well-made album by a talented and unique band, recommended to fans of heavy atmospheric music. I'd say it's a weak four star album, but a four star album nonetheless.
Report this review (#229144)
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars ITAOT is another competent Isis album. It has great songwriting and a very open sound, emphasising their post rock element above their metal and hardcore roots. But they made a crucial mistake by giving up most of their gruff shouting in favour of very inadequate clean vocals.

The two opening tracks are very captivating songs with a good groove and very imaginative guitar work. But the vocals are very monotonous and miss expressive value. It makes the songs flat and un-dynamic. The gruff shouting at the end of Wrists of Kings works a lot better. Dulcinea is one of my favourites here, even if the vocal melody - if I may call it so - is hardly distinguishable from that of the opening track. The furious noisy outbursts in the middle and at the end of the track make up for it.

From then on the album excels in being good but unremarkable. All songs in the second half of the album, except maybe for the slightly more electronic Firdous E Bareen and the strong instrumental closer, will please fans but will hardly fire anybody else's interest.

Another fine album from Isis that fails to surprise or engage me enough to be outstanding. Had they added a guest vocalist to handle the more melodic parts it could easily have been a 4 star album. Instead the album ended up lacking the emotive power to make it come alive.

Report this review (#271617)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've been in an on-off relationship with Isis ever since I experienced Wavering Radiant in 2009. I was steered towards it by my girlfriend at the time who was into all these weird Post Metal bands that I've never even heard about. That album did indeed surprise me for it's clear similarities to a little band called Tool. Fortunately I didn't dismiss the album as a mere clone and was rewarded with an enlightening experience.

I haven't actually listened much to Isis after their announcement of a split-up, but that was only because I was into all these other bands that completely overshadowed my backlog of Isis releases. Eventually I knew that it was inevitable for me to return to the band at one point or another and it came to a realization during my trip to Tunisia, over the Christmas holidays. Just like before, it had to be the wise words of another female tourist that reminded me of giving Isis another shot. In The Absence Of Truth became the natural choice for me since it was released just before Wavering Radiant.

The album opening Wrists Of Kings did manage to put my fears aside of the unexpected. This track had everything that I already learned to love about Isis and only proceeded to build up their reputation in my eyes. Unfortunately this is pretty much all that I remember of my first time experience since I was much too unfocused and managed to only gasp bits and pieces of the rest of the record. You really need to actively listen to Isis in order to see the detailed layering of their music and by failing to do so I only alienated the experience. It took me about 7-8 revisits until I finally began to see the big picture that was In The Absence Of Truth and once the album settled in it did make itself seem like a powerful statement from a band who knew exactly what they were doing.

I can highly recommend this release to any fan of the Post Metal genre. It may not be a perfect album by any means, since it might get a bit repetitive and annoying if you're not a fan of the genre or plainly not in the mood for this type of music. Still, In The Absence Of Truth is worth checking out especially now that their long term fans have finally come to turns with the stylistic shift that occurred with this release.

***** star songs: Wrists Of Kings (7:45) Dulcinea (7:11)

**** star songs: Not In Rivers, But In Drops (7:48) 1000 Shards (6:18) Holy Tears (7:04) Firdous E Bareen (7:51) Garden Of Light (9:17)

*** star songs: Over Root And Thorn (8:31) All Out Of Time, All Into Space (3:04)

Report this review (#395004)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Isis has perfected the post metal sound so well, they now sound like everyone else!

Indeed, by this point post metal bands were starting to come out of the woodwork, and many previous sludgy doomy metal bands have since converted. In a sea of students cheating off each other, leave it to the professors to change it up.

In the Absence of Truth, continues the progression of Isis. Clean guitar sounds dominate this album, which tends to dive into heaviness a bit less than previously. There is often a "clean heaviness" which I can't really describe, but you'll hear it, and only the songs "Holy Tears" and "Garden of Light" make prominent use of the classic wall of sound.

So basically, this is a much cleaner and melodic album than anything Isis has done. This seems be a bit of a turn off for some Isis fans but this may be my favorite album by them. Any Isis fan should know deep listening reveals the true musicianship on this album. Often beautiful, always subtle and sophisticated, the soundscapes created by Isis are amazing.

Also of note, the drumming is a drastically different style featuring a very "tribal" style. It's awesome and provides an interesting base for this album. Adds some more power and intensity. There's also greater use of clean vocals, and true clean vocals not even the kind of strained clean singing of past. The balance is in fact probably shifted to the clean side.

While it may sound like a mellow and beautiful album, (which it is) what makes it metal? What makes it Isis? Well don't worry, it's all still there. Just less prominently. This actually gives the album an even stronger post metal feel, as the build ups are really powerful now!

The clean/heavy/clean/heavy format was getting a bit tiresome, and by using less heavy sections they feel so much more substantial now. This album is more post rock sounding than previous, since the songs are more steady and progressive, moving continuously towards the finale and not through peaks and valleys.

"Holy Tears" is a standout song, while "Garden of Light" is one of the most powerful endings to an album I've ever heard. The final few minutes sent shivers down my spine.

For metal fans, and even Isis fans, this album may be a bit of a challenge. It's not the Isis of previous two albums but more subdued and post rock influenced, but be patient and submerse yourself to realize the greatness of this album. The greater the challenge the greater the reward, and those perpetually fine tuning metal engineers assembled another brilliant work.

Five Stars

Report this review (#634844)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm in sackcloth and ashes

Okay, I was wrong. I was terribly wrong. This is not just a passable album. With their penultimate release Isis turned me off initially (in 2006) but I was young and stupid then. IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH is indeed a journey one of its kind, a journey setted in a peculiar dream in which one experiences both things already seen but those unknown and singular as well. Landscape is blurry and distorted, seen through hundreds of rainy lenses. And there is bleakness.

Every album from the band has different sound that suits its concept and highlights its specific mood. IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH is obviously not an exception. As this is their most "post" and least "metal" record, the sound is more airy and organic than ever before. Its oneiric, gloomy atmosphere is highlighted with organic guitar distortion and naturally sounding drums. Since we're on the subject, the drumming is based mainly on tribal, loopy tom-tom patterns. It may seem a bit repetitive to some, but it suits the mood pretty well.

I took a dislike to this album due to strong Tool influence I immediately spotted in it. I loved Tool at the time and Isis seemed to insolently imitate them. I was obviously an ignoramus as this is not the whole truth about IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH. While being strongly influenced by Tool's evolutionary approach to composition and unique mood of LATERALUS, Isis adds a huge amount of their own style to the music. Sludgy heaviness and genuine depressive mood known from such albums as PANOPTICON and OCEANIC, pervades the record thoroughly. With the opening track the listener's mind is immediately flooded with feelings of anxiety and imminent menace. From now on the music takes him to terrains of sadness and shows him surreal, gloomy visions of life and death. It's an intriguing construct made of sludgy build-ups, atmospheric post-rock passages and emotional post-metal climaxes.

Plenty of post-rock albums oozed through my headphones within the space of the last 3 years and 99% of them bored me half to death. I'm glad I survived long enough to finally appreciate Isis. Although the album is a bit uneven, it has some real post-metal masterpieces on board. And most of all, unlike legions of uninspired post-rock clones, this REALLY is emotional and deep stuff. Let it sink in your mind. It's worth it.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 10/10[masterpiece!!!]: Not in Rivers, but in Drops; Dulcinea || 9/10[fantastic!]: Holy Tears || 8/10[great]: Wrists of Kings; 1,000 Shards; Garden of Light || 7/10[very good]: Over Root and Thorn || 5/10[not bad]: Firdous E Bareen || OVERALL = 81/100

-- Originally posted on --

Report this review (#728691)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Following up classics like Oceanic and Panopticon would be a tricky enough prospect in itself, and whilst I respect Isis for choosing to evolve their sound at this point the fact remains that In the Absence of Truth is a bit of a transitional album which simply doesn't grip me to the extent that those albums do. The band seem to have been experimenting with a somewhat more atmospheric and less direct take on their sound, but on balance I think they succeeded much better at this sort of thing on the following Wavering Radiant; here, it's still a work in progress and it doesn't quite come together.
Report this review (#1605196)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2016 | Review Permalink

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