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Isis - Wavering Radiant CD (album) cover

WAVERING RADIANT

Isis

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.02 | 202 ratings

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Evolutionary Sleeper
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars With the release of this album in 2009, Isis takes the final step into maturity as a band. Wavering Radiant is a monster of an album that takes its sludge elements and tones them down a bit, but is no less crushing and beautiful for it. This is an album that blew me away from the first listen with its dark and haunting atmosphere. The thing I first noticed was the much improved production from their previous album, In the Absence of Truth. The mixing on this album is absolutely perfect and gives the overall tone of the music a much more organic feel, Joe Barresi did an amazing job with it. Another thing I noticed were the much improved vocals of Aaron Turner. He admittedly is not a great singer but I felt his vocals were really appropriate to the mood of the music and made it an overall more enjoyable experience. Great as the vocals were for me, Jeff Caxide's bass playing was definitely the highlight of the album. Jeff's versatile and skillful playing turns the bass into a living, breathing creature that weaves in and out in the background waiting to strike. These factors, along with the always great guitar playing and the much improved keys make it an album not to be missed by metal fans.

Hall of the Dead opens with a fantastic riff that carries through the first couple of minutes while the keys create a dark atmosphere in the background. Aaron Turner's vintage growls come in before a beautiful middle section juxtaposes the heaviness and Turner's growls change from harsh to melodic, a truly haunting tune.

Ghost Key however, takes "haunting" to a whole new level. The bass and keys on this track takes you to an journey through the dark side of your mind. Turner's vocals on this song are especially haunting, where he declares: "And there upon the ground, the remnants of our struggle", a truly spine-tingling experience.

Hand of the Host features a more crushing atmosphere than the previous two songs with the heavy breathing of the bass and monster riffs played by the guitars, one of the heaviest songs on the album.

Wavering Radiant is a short interlude between the first and second half of the album. It is pretty much an ambient track that has some sort moans from some ghastly being in the background. Not much of a track, but I don't feel it takes away from anything.

Stone to Wake a Serpent features their trademark loud, soft, loud, sound, which makes it a little less cohesive than the other tracks which pretty much avoid this, but the drumming on this track is really solid (some tabla even makes an appearance at one point) and the eerie keys in the background make for another great mood.

20Minutes/40 Years creeps up on you at the start and then explodes in your face. I particularly love the pace of this track, it stays pretty slow and super heavy throughout.

Threshold of Transformation was the one track it took me a while to warm up too, but I have come to love this track as well. Threshold is by far the heaviest track on the album with its booming bass and devastating guitars. The drumming here is the best out of any track on the album and the evocative singing beckons making one feel a sense on longing and nostalgia. It ends with the bass breathing heavy sighs and the guitars playing a quiet tune, calling out to you with their sorrowful cry.

This is definitely Isis's best and most mature work to date, and sadly, their last. This album is a wonderful addition to any prog collection. This masterpiece absolutely sucks the listener in doesn't let go, it's a completely immersive experience and one not to be missed and is best listened to cranked up to eleven.

Evolutionary Sleeper | 5/5 |

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