Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Isis - The Red Sea CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.00 | 19 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars While still touring the East Coast, ISIS continued to work on original material that was released early on as short EPs. After the debut EP, "The Mosquito Control," electronics contributor and backing vocalist Chris Mereschuk departed and was replaced by Jay Randall now of Agoraphobic Nosebleed but would be the only release to feature him. While "The Mosquito Control" was an EP that hit the 30 minute mark, the second release in EP form, THE RED SEA was originally released simply with three tracks on vinyl but on the CD form it also contained the tracks from the 1998 demo. A Japanese version also included the Black Sabbath cover "Hand of Doom.
 THE RED SEA is notable for slowly ratcheting up the band's post-metal and electronic sensibilities that would come into full display on the full-length debut "Celestial." ISIS was never one to reinvent itself after every album but on the contrary played out as a band much like the music it delivered, namely change things up incrementally and in a nonchalant subtle manner. Not only does THE RED SEA sound a lot more like the future ISIS releases but also debuts themes such as water that would culminate in "Oceanic" as well as a more developed fusion of the band's hardcore, doom metal, sludge metal and dark ambient possibilities.

Despite the leap forward, THE RED SEA EP still contains a heavier hardcore sound although less bombastic and caustic as "The Mosquito Control." Given the EP is so short, it pays to obtain the edition with the bonus demo tracks however they are rather forgettable and only serve to show the origins of the band's hardcore past and how it blossomed into the more sophisticated atmospheric sludge metal and post-metal realities of albums like "Oceanic" and "Panopticon." Overall the album sounds unlike anything else the band had done before or after despite common traits.

"Charmicarmicarmicat Shines to Earth" is pure sonic terror. A very strange sonic smorgasbord of ethereal atmospheric freakiness and caustic jagged angular guitar chords sounding more like the funeral doom metal band Esoteric than anything ISIS ever released. This is by far the weirdest track ISIS has ever released. The screams of anguish beneath the caustic din are particularly jarring. "The Minus Times" is more in line with the previous EP with heavy hardcore guitar, bass and drums and a fast tempo. Also unlike future ISIS but more in line with what came before. Still though, this track is looser and beginning to display some of the more progressive chaotic moments between the cracks. The title track points more to the future with a slower tempo and the mix of doomy distorted riffs with segments that drift into post-rock embellished with electronics. Not as accomplished as future full-length albums but still leading there.

In line with "The Mosquito Control EP," THE RED SEA EP is also not essential but above average in quality and displays three distinctly different tracks that offer glimpses into the evolution of ISIS' atmospheric sludge domination of the 2000s. Michael Gallagher tamed his drumming style into the familiar percussive framing and the overall compositional approach had found many similarities with the classics to come, however THE RED SEA EP still has a very DIY indie sound to it despite a better production job. For those who only love the slicker albums this probably will be too noisy but for those who dig the early rawness of sludgy hardcore inspired post-metal then this will surely scratch that itch.

3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ISIS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives