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




Experimental/Post Metal

3.75 | 181 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

JLocke | 3/5 |


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