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Isis - In the Fishtank vol. 14 (with Aereogramme) CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "In the Fishtank" is an ongoing project from Dutch record label Konkurrent. The idea is to bring together artists who the label feels are "strongly related" and get them to collaborate in the studio. Perhaps they will find the things they have in common and amplify them to new levels, or perhaps they will focus on their differences and come up with something that is uncharacteristic for both artists. Volume 14 of "In the Fishtank" brings together Scottish indie-rock band Aereogramme with American post-metal masters Isis. I had never heard Aereogramme before I heard this, but it turns out they're a pretty average (though decent) indie rock band who alternate between soft melodies and explosions of lush electro-sonic layers. So, what will happen when one of my favorite metal bands works with a band I know nothing about, and probably wouldn't listen to regularly by themselves? The results of the collaboration are surprisingly good.

The EP contains three songs in total: the first is about 9 minutes, the second about four, and the last track is over 10 minutes. It seems that the groups came together and focused on their love for creating good rock with lots of atmosphere. The first track begins with a low drone and some clean guitars that will sound familiar to Isis fans, until Aereogramme enter with their bits of synthesized ambience, and Aereogramme's vocalist provides the bulk of the lyrical work. The song drones on for the rest of the time and rather sounds like an Isis song that is being played by a different band. The second track is more like an actual "metal" song, and sounds like a more digestible version of some earlier Isis tracks, and actually features Aaron Turner on vocals. The last track is a much more ambient piece than the others and can be quite haunting at times. This song sounds like more of a drawn-out, ambient Aereogramme song with creepy touches laid on by the members of Isis.

I would call this seemingly random collaboration a success. The bands found what they had in common and ran with it, creating new levels of atmospheric beauty that neither band was likely to create on their own. This album gets three stars because while it is good, it should certainly not be anyone's introduction to Isis. Wait until you have their other major progressive releases, then try this out.

Report this review (#99746)
Posted Monday, November 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Golden Spiral's review says everything you need to know about the Fishtank series. Well this Fishtank brings two ands with a few common characteristics together. Being a huge Isis fan I wanted to buy this one. To tell the truth I don't enjoy Aereogramme as much. Aereogramme, while at times heavy, has a more alternative and electronic approach. What I expected was an interesting but surely not essential and that's exactly what I got.

The album is really pleasant but it's only 25 minutes. It consists of three songs which are pretty much in the vein of Isis but softer and with electronics added. "Low Tide" is the opening track. It sounds like most post-rock based Isis songs with very nice electronics added. Vocals here by Aereogramme's vocalist give a new perspective to the Isis-based music and may sound a bit odd in the begging to Isis fans. I really enjoy the ending where the electronics lead the song. The second track "Delial" is the shortest of the album with distorted guitars this time which along with bass guitar and drums create a strong rhythmic base for Turner's vocals to take over as the melodic instrument. The last track, "Stolen", is the longest track of the album. Like Golden Spiral said, it's an ambient song that reminds me of massive attack. I really seem to enjoy the vocals in this one.

Overall, I think both bands had a great time doing this. Both bands show how influenced they are from post-rock. I give it two stars (Collectors/fans only) because while non- Isis/Aereogramme fans may like this album, it's too short to be recommended. It's probably mostly for curious people.

Report this review (#104932)
Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is an EP in the In the Fishtank series that highlights two similar bands together performing new tracks together to see what comes out of each pairing. This one features Isis and Aereogramme, Isis being a post-rock/metal band and Aereogramme leaning more towards the alternative side of post- rock with more electronics. What you get are 3 pretty decent tracks, 2 long ones and a short one.

"Low Tide" is the best track to come from this union. It is a mid-tempo track somewhat similar to the cleaner songs on Isis' "In the Absence of Truth" album, but it features the lead vocals of Craig from Aereogramme, which I believe are much better than Aaron's vocals, who often sings either growly vocals or more subdued "under the mix" vocals. The pairing works well in this track, which has a long, atmospheric opening before the vocals start in. After the vocal section, the track continues picking up a more electronic sound, but continues to be an excellent mix of styles. The 2nd track is "Deliel" which is a short and more straightforward metal sounding track with Aaron's gritty vocals, sounding more like an Isis track, with enough going on in the background to keep it interesting, but not as interesting as most of their music on their usual albums. The 3rd track is more of a droning style with a free floating feel, featuring Crag's vocals again. This one is very experimental sounding with a nice spacey atmosphere, and once again uses the pairing to it's greatest benefit.

All in all, it's not a bad little EP, but not one that you would use to introduce yourself to either band. The music could have been released under a different name than either one of the band's names and would have been a respectful sound for a new band, but this series of experiments of pairing bands together is a very interesting experiments. The curious listener can pick up quite a number of these EPs to hear the interesting combinations of bands, which also includes other progressive bands like Tortoise (pairing with The Ex) and Motorpsycho (pairing with Jaga Jazzist Horns). Quite an interesting collection. This particular EP is interesting enough, especially with the excellent starter track, but the other two are only just good. 3 stars for this EP

Report this review (#1426829)
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2015 | Review Permalink

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