Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Isis - Wavering Radiant

Isis have come a long way from late 90's noise jams in their native Boston and self-releasing their material on guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner's then-nascent Hydra Head Records. Wavering Radiant is their fourth record for Ipecac Recordings and their third since relocating as a band to Los Angeles.

The band has expanded it's sound from it's Neurosis/Godflesh indebted early material in recent years, adding more electronic and clean vocals to their raging sound. It hasn't gone unnoticed by the public or their peers. Isis have really increased their profile in recent years, headlining bigger and bigger rooms and opening for the likes of Tool in stadiums. It's been a mixed blessing for the intensely private band, Turner in particular, but lucky for us, it hasn't deterred Isis from recording a new record. It's called Wavering Radiant, and while it's not Oceanic by a long shot, it's a damn solid record.

There are vocals, but they aren't the major focus of the songs. Isis are very much of a band to think of in terms of textures. Wavering Radiant is the wrong place to look for a sing-a-long chorus, unless you are perhaps a Wookie, but Isis balance the light and shade in their usual capable fashion. The title track is a minute and a half of ambient electronics, but for the most part all of the tracks are seven minutes at the very least, stretching to ten when they deem it necessary. Expansive length aside, Turner and Co. are no strangers to cutting the fat to make the song heavier. Consequently, there are no extended solos or other wankery to clutter the proceedings where a quiet passage can do the job more effectively. There's something close to a solo on Stone To Wake A Serpent, but the sound is more shrapnel than Shrapnel

If you liked Isis before, and aren't so hardline as to start hating the band post-Oceanic, chances are you'll be all over Wavering Radiant. It's a lot like later-period Justin Broadrick Jesu material. If you were exposed to them through the tour, or are maybe just a mark for Tool, Adam Jones plays on a couple of the tracks. It's not out until May 5th, but pop on over here and pre-order it from the good folk of Ipecac. Keep track of Isis here.


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