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Isis The Red Sea album cover
3.04 | 25 ratings | 2 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Charmicarmicat Shines To Earth (2:23)
2. The Minus Times (5:25)
3. Red Sea (7:17)
4. Smiles and Handshakes (6:02)
5. Catalyst (4:26)
6. Ochre (4:40)
7. Lines Across Eyes (5:52)

Total Time 36:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Caxide / bass
- Aaron Harris / drums
- Jay Randall / electronics, vocals (Tracks 1-3)
- Chris Mereschuk / electronics (Tracks 4-7)
- Aaron Turner / guitars, vocals

Releases information

EP, Second Nature Recordings
April 16th, 1999

Thanks to ivansfr0st for the addition
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ISIS The Red Sea ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ISIS The Red Sea reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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

Latest members reviews

2 stars After the release of their first ep, 'Mosquito Control' and an East Coast tour in summer of 1998, they came back to release their second ep, "Red Sea". Chris Mereschuk who had done the vocals on their first ep left the band but he helped Jay Randall who replaced him with the electronics. Jay R ... (read more)

Report this review (#96824) | Posted by sularetal | Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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