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Isis In The Absence Of Truth album cover
3.75 | 189 ratings | 19 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wrists Of Kings (7:45)
2. Not In Rivers, But In Drops (7:48)
3. Dulcinea (7:10)
4. Over Root And Thorn (8:31)
5. 1000 Shards (6:17)
6. All Out Of Time, All Into Space (3:04)
7. Holy Tears (7:04)
8. Firdous E Bareen (7:50)
9. Garden Of Light (9:17)

Total Time: 64:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Aaron Turner / guitars, vocals
- Mike Gallagher / guitars
- Bryant Cliff Meyer / electronics, guitar
- Jeff Caxide / bass
- Aaron Harris / drums

- Caleb Scofield / vocals (5)
- Charley Turner / vocals (2,7)
- Troy Ziegler / acoustic guitar & percussion (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Aaron Turner

CD Ipecac Recordings ‎- IPC-81 (2006, US)

Thanks to Trickster F. for the addition
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ISIS In The Absence Of Truth ratings distribution

(189 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ISIS In The Absence Of Truth reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GoldenSpiral
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The more I listen to this album, the more I think this is exactly what this band should sound like. It seems like this album is truly the sound they've been searching for since they took that progressive dive into "Oceanic". Isis once again manage to create their signature sprawling, spaced-out metal that derives influences from the dirty art-metal of Neurosis and Godflesh, as well as the psychedic Pink Floyd, the epic post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and the impenetrable layers of shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride. The songs on "In the Absence of Truth" are comparable in sound to those on "Panopticon" and "Oceanic" in that they rely heavily on dynamics that flow from clean guitar harmonies to crushing, distorted metal grooves, but flow so evenly you don't even notice it's happening. This time around, the clean guitars are cleaner and the parts seem more tightly composed. The most noticeable difference is that there is a great deal more emphasis on drums. Some of the drum beats seam almost tribal in nature, and there are a lot more changes in tempo than we had become accustomed to on the previous releases. The production is tighter all around as well, and the inclusion of synthesizers has become noticeably more prevalent. It seems the band has really found their sound and they're riding it as far as it will go. However, the songs still have enough variation to keep the album interesting from start to finish. According to vocalist Aaron Turner, "In the Absence of Truth" is a concept album based on Islamic cult leader Hassan-i-Sabbah, Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Mark Danielewski's "House of Leaves" and Borges' "Labyrinths" (according to a Rock Sound interview), so this album will provide many interesting listens to come. The standout tracks for me are "Not in Rivers, but in Drops", "Dulcinea" and "Holy Tears". Isis have made a true five star album here, and it should appeal to all fans of progressive metal and post-rock, or any open-minded fan of good music.
Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars This is the culmination of everything Isis has helped to develop. The atmosphere, the dynamics, the punchy beats, the climaxes, everything the band has been known for, are all at their strongest points on In the Absence of Truth. From the start of the album, with the tom beat and slowly increasing density leading to a serious groove and onward to the crushing riffs of post-metal fame, you know this is going to be something else.

The sound is clearly Isis, but there are some differences prevalent on this album. First, there is an added stress on the rhythm which results in some awesome drum & bass grooves, tribal beats, and more exciting builds & heavy sections. Second, the vocals are a bit different here. They still get the same relatively low levels in the mix, but there are more sung parts, and while vocals have never been Isis' strong area, they work out well here. Third, there is a more prevalent sonic and electronic element to the music. This is most obvious in the tracks "All out of Time, All into Space," a 3-minute soundscape and "Firdous e Bareen, which is an instrumental track with a constant electronic rhythm/soundscape at varying levels throughout the song.

It's hard to pick highlights on this disc, everything from the tribal intro in "Wrists of Kings" to the beautiful melodic closing in "Garden of Light," this album is huge and awesome and so on. This band just keeps getting better. I think to myself how much I love this sound, but I'm very curious to see if they can re-invent their sound again and stun me like they have here.

Review by Dim
2 stars I don't understand, what happened to Isis? Instead of tight primal drumming, and thick, trippy lead lines, I get a Toolish drummer, a singer who loses the eeriness of his voice, and a post rocky guitar player? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isis is the band that got me into post metal, I consider Panopticon, and especially Oceanic, some of the defining albums of the genre, and this comes out?

From the first couple of seconds of the album, I knew I was in for a surprise, tom drumming, funky tortoise arpeggios, and a phased voice... I was confused, but open minded, and was sure things were going to go up, but little did I know it was only going to get worse. Distorted guitars did not make their intro until the last minute, clean vocals were being sung throughout the entire song, and the stupid tom drumming was ceaseless, Isis, what happened to the sparse vocals, crunchy sludgy guitars, and quintessential drumming. Things werent looking good, and they only got worse, every song was basically the same thing, while not in rivers, 1000 shards, and garden of light have some excellent guitar and vocal moments, nothing stood out, no emotion was being displayed, and most importantly, the trippy lead lines are almost completely gone! Structure wise, it's not bad, the album flows kind of like panopticon straightforward song in the beginning, mellower, more eclectic songs in the middle, and a big bang at the end.

I don't know if I'll ever get used to the change in guitar, I absolutely hate the drums, but if the vocals were to cut back a little bit, it would save the band from such a wrathful review. I might be able to get use to the new vocal style, but I think the vocals are just too prevalent in this album. I guess I should admit, I'm not too big of a fan of change, but I can tolerate some, In the absence of truth went a bit overboard, and the one that they let go of that may have made the album a little more interesting was the spaciness of Panopticon, who knows though, they may bring back some of the old sound in their next album. 2 stars.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dark, brooding, yet somehow lacking emotion

In the world of experimental and post metal Isis is one of the bands which holds the candle to light the way for others, their music embodies just about everything the genre is about. Listening to them you get a sea of dark and brooding music. Instrumental sections with guitar not dissimilar to Tool, grumbly death mixed in with a rather nicely done bout of other more relaxed vocals. This is the kind of music that usually evokes emotion in the listener, being rather midpaced and intraflective this is the kind of music that usually holds so much passion behind its apparent angst that it can take you to the places it's been with it's evil tones. But for some reason, In The Absence Of Truth really just does not do that. There's nothing inherently wrong with the album, it's a good mixture of ideas that unfortunately comes off as one big wall of sound, and while repeated listens usually dulls this down with other albums in the genre this one just keeps getting thicker and less welcoming with each repeated spin.

Granted there's some very nice things about the album. It does still manage to set a mood, even if it doesn't immerse you into the experience, with it's dark riffs and frantic drumming at all times to make impending darkness seem imminent. The vocals are also quite good, if mixed a bit to the low side. This really isn't a band you listen to to hear the vocals however, not like some of it's genre counterparts, but the grumbling, death vocals and the actually quite soothing normal vocals on the album hold a place and I think they just need to be heard a little better. The vocals are actually what give the album the majority of it's direction and emotion, but they're just not around all that often.

The instrumental sections on the album are quite good, but they have their flaws. What happens in this album is that the band find a really good riff and section of music and then puts it on repeat, giving the album an almost evil industrial feel. This is both good and bad really, since at times it works very well and the repeated section becomes very enjoyable. Other times the background instruments seem to be directionless and wash out the leads turning the music into a very thick paste. This leaves the album feeling somewhat samey the most of the way through and while it does have some standout moments it becomes hard to tell song from song the first couple of listens through.

There are a couple of standouts in the group though, and they stand out very well. Take for example the opener Wrists Of Kings which starts out with a very larger than life sound all around as the band opens the album rather confidently. Instrumental for a while until the singing makes its grand entrance which by this point is well anticipated and welcome. A great track. Over Root And Thorn is one of the few songs that actually is able to pull the audience in for a while, it's haunting chorus and guitar section make for a very memorable piece. The closing Garden Of Light is also a strong piece, it's guitar riff being very well thought out and highly memorable.

Ultimately this is a good album which unfortunately would rather have you leave it alone than come back for more. Fans of the post metal subgenre should find a lot to like about it but may or may not be frustrated in trying to get into it. Definitely not for people who prefer their music to be fast and/or upbeat, this record will likely appeal to many, but not all. 2 gardens of light out of 5, a good listen, but not the place to start with this subgenre, fans should enjoy it though.

Review by JLocke
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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In The Absence Of Truth is the fourth full-length studio album by American post metal/ experimental metal act Isis. The album was released on the 30th of October 2006 through Ipecac Recordings and produced by Isis and Matt Bayles.

The music further explores the direction that Isis began on Oceanic (2002) and later perfected on Panopticon (2004) Which means post metal with heavy slow riffs and mellow atmospheric post rock sections. This time the vocals are mostly clean sung though and the shouting aggressive vocals are pretty sparse. The same can be said about the amount of heavy post metal parts compared to the amount of atmospheric post rock parts. While the distribution on Oceanic (2002) was 70% heavy riffs and 30% atmospheric riffs and the distribution on Panopticon (2004) was 50% heavy riffs and 50% atmospheric riffs the scale has tipped even more on In The Absence Of Truth as the distribution is now 30% heavy riffs and 70% atmospheric riffs. This will probably please some and annoy others. I enjoy that Isis has made an album that doesnīt sound exactly like its predecessors. The clean vocals are not the most convincing Iīve heard though and a bit more practise in that department could have propelled this album to a higher state. One of the things I enjoy greatly on In The Absence Of Truth is the drumming by Aaron Harris which got an almost tribal like feel to them at times ( think Tool). The songs are generally pretty long and slow building which is business as usual for Isis.

The production is a bit warmer than on previous releases.

While itīs obvious that Isis still kneel at the altar of Neurosis and probably always will, I find that the music on In The Absence Of Truth explores new ground too and Isis is still a very worthy listen for fans of the genre. My rating is somewhere between 3.5 - 4 stars but Iīll round it up to 4 stars as this album is certainly way too accomplished to receive a 3 star rating even though itīs not flawless by any means.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ITAOT is another competent Isis album. It has great songwriting and a very open sound, emphasising their post rock element above their metal and hardcore roots. But they made a crucial mistake by giving up most of their gruff shouting in favour of very inadequate clean vocals.

The two opening tracks are very captivating songs with a good groove and very imaginative guitar work. But the vocals are very monotonous and miss expressive value. It makes the songs flat and un-dynamic. The gruff shouting at the end of Wrists of Kings works a lot better. Dulcinea is one of my favourites here, even if the vocal melody - if I may call it so - is hardly distinguishable from that of the opening track. The furious noisy outbursts in the middle and at the end of the track make up for it.

From then on the album excels in being good but unremarkable. All songs in the second half of the album, except maybe for the slightly more electronic Firdous E Bareen and the strong instrumental closer, will please fans but will hardly fire anybody else's interest.

Another fine album from Isis that fails to surprise or engage me enough to be outstanding. Had they added a guest vocalist to handle the more melodic parts it could easily have been a 4 star album. Instead the album ended up lacking the emotive power to make it come alive.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've been in an on-off relationship with Isis ever since I experienced Wavering Radiant in 2009. I was steered towards it by my girlfriend at the time who was into all these weird Post Metal bands that I've never even heard about. That album did indeed surprise me for it's clear similarities to a little band called Tool. Fortunately I didn't dismiss the album as a mere clone and was rewarded with an enlightening experience.

I haven't actually listened much to Isis after their announcement of a split-up, but that was only because I was into all these other bands that completely overshadowed my backlog of Isis releases. Eventually I knew that it was inevitable for me to return to the band at one point or another and it came to a realization during my trip to Tunisia, over the Christmas holidays. Just like before, it had to be the wise words of another female tourist that reminded me of giving Isis another shot. In The Absence Of Truth became the natural choice for me since it was released just before Wavering Radiant.

The album opening Wrists Of Kings did manage to put my fears aside of the unexpected. This track had everything that I already learned to love about Isis and only proceeded to build up their reputation in my eyes. Unfortunately this is pretty much all that I remember of my first time experience since I was much too unfocused and managed to only gasp bits and pieces of the rest of the record. You really need to actively listen to Isis in order to see the detailed layering of their music and by failing to do so I only alienated the experience. It took me about 7-8 revisits until I finally began to see the big picture that was In The Absence Of Truth and once the album settled in it did make itself seem like a powerful statement from a band who knew exactly what they were doing.

I can highly recommend this release to any fan of the Post Metal genre. It may not be a perfect album by any means, since it might get a bit repetitive and annoying if you're not a fan of the genre or plainly not in the mood for this type of music. Still, In The Absence Of Truth is worth checking out especially now that their long term fans have finally come to turns with the stylistic shift that occurred with this release.

***** star songs: Wrists Of Kings (7:45) Dulcinea (7:11)

**** star songs: Not In Rivers, But In Drops (7:48) 1000 Shards (6:18) Holy Tears (7:04) Firdous E Bareen (7:51) Garden Of Light (9:17)

*** star songs: Over Root And Thorn (8:31) All Out Of Time, All Into Space (3:04)

Review by JJLehto
5 stars Isis has perfected the post metal sound so well, they now sound like everyone else!

Indeed, by this point post metal bands were starting to come out of the woodwork, and many previous sludgy doomy metal bands have since converted. In a sea of students cheating off each other, leave it to the professors to change it up.

In the Absence of Truth, continues the progression of Isis. Clean guitar sounds dominate this album, which tends to dive into heaviness a bit less than previously. There is often a "clean heaviness" which I can't really describe, but you'll hear it, and only the songs "Holy Tears" and "Garden of Light" make prominent use of the classic wall of sound.

So basically, this is a much cleaner and melodic album than anything Isis has done. This seems be a bit of a turn off for some Isis fans but this may be my favorite album by them. Any Isis fan should know deep listening reveals the true musicianship on this album. Often beautiful, always subtle and sophisticated, the soundscapes created by Isis are amazing.

Also of note, the drumming is a drastically different style featuring a very "tribal" style. It's awesome and provides an interesting base for this album. Adds some more power and intensity. There's also greater use of clean vocals, and true clean vocals not even the kind of strained clean singing of past. The balance is in fact probably shifted to the clean side.

While it may sound like a mellow and beautiful album, (which it is) what makes it metal? What makes it Isis? Well don't worry, it's all still there. Just less prominently. This actually gives the album an even stronger post metal feel, as the build ups are really powerful now!

The clean/heavy/clean/heavy format was getting a bit tiresome, and by using less heavy sections they feel so much more substantial now. This album is more post rock sounding than previous, since the songs are more steady and progressive, moving continuously towards the finale and not through peaks and valleys.

"Holy Tears" is a standout song, while "Garden of Light" is one of the most powerful endings to an album I've ever heard. The final few minutes sent shivers down my spine.

For metal fans, and even Isis fans, this album may be a bit of a challenge. It's not the Isis of previous two albums but more subdued and post rock influenced, but be patient and submerse yourself to realize the greatness of this album. The greater the challenge the greater the reward, and those perpetually fine tuning metal engineers assembled another brilliant work.

Five Stars

Review by Warthur
2 stars Following up classics like Oceanic and Panopticon would be a tricky enough prospect in itself, and whilst I respect Isis for choosing to evolve their sound at this point the fact remains that In the Absence of Truth is a bit of a transitional album which simply doesn't grip me to the extent that those albums do. The band seem to have been experimenting with a somewhat more atmospheric and less direct take on their sound, but on balance I think they succeeded much better at this sort of thing on the following Wavering Radiant; here, it's still a work in progress and it doesn't quite come together.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I'm in sackcloth and ashes Okay, I was wrong. I was terribly wrong. This is not just a passable album. With their penultimate release Isis turned me off initially (in 2006) but I was young and stupid then. IN THE ABSENCE OF TRUTH is indeed a journey one of its kind, a journey setted in a pecu ... (read more)

Report this review (#728691) | Posted by bartosso | Sunday, April 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In the Absence of Truth was my first experience with the post metal genre, and I must say that I was quite pleased. Isis combines the atmospherics of many post rock bands (GY!BE comes to mind) with metal instrumentation, including plenty of distorted guitar. The songs aren't different enough from ea ... (read more)

Report this review (#229144) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One can probably see where Isis was aiming on In the Absence of Truth. An album focusing a bit on atmosphere, creating a mystical aura among a somewhat heavy album. Isis probably meant for it to be haunting and meditative, though on many accounts of this album it misses the mark. Although the ... (read more)

Report this review (#219042) | Posted by topofsm | Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first time I heard about Isis, was like a Hardcore band, and I wasn't too interested in them, so I didn't listened to them. Then I saw many Prog Metal listeners that recommenden me to listen to Isis, and I was like "Isn't that a hardcore band"?, and they said to me that they used to be a Hardc ... (read more)

Report this review (#148712) | Posted by Kazuzu | Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the absence of truth is the best ISIS album yet. If your into prog metal or post rock take some time to listen to this amazing album. Isis is getting better with each release. The whole album makes you want to hear more as it goes on. The music they create is very epic. The stand out tracks on ... (read more)

Report this review (#145802) | Posted by JROCHA | Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Isis return for a masterpiece. Isis, arguably the godfathers of post-metal along with Neurosis, release a stunning album after 2004's genre-defining Panopticon. Aaron Turner experiments with more melodic vocals, building along with slower climaxes than earlier Isis albums. Drummer Aaron Harri ... (read more)

Report this review (#144552) | Posted by jikai55 | Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Loved this post-rock, spacey, mind-bending release. Great music and musicianship. Perhaps not as evocative as GYBE but just as powerful. These guys use their instruments to great effect, delivering a hypnotic vibe over which layers of riff and melody are woven. And it's these interwoven layers tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#136149) | Posted by scarista | Tuesday, September 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Writing a review for your favorate album of all time is a rather difficult task. On this album, or rather during this experience, Isis are both the heaviest and the quietest band you've ever heard and the experience is infanatley rewarding. Production quality is absolutly perfect and distinguishi ... (read more)

Report this review (#125975) | Posted by Wrathi | Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm new to the review game, so bear with me as I try this on for size. I've been listening to progressive music for 20+ years & this cd is as good as prog metal gets. I'm listening to it as I write this & I keep turning it up!! The songs blend into one another effortlessly. Although most song ... (read more)

Report this review (#89036) | Posted by mtspaces6466 | Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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