ISIS – Wavering Radiant
When Isis released their first ep, “The Mosquito Control” in 1998, they appeared to be a follower of Neurosis with a little bit of the Melvins added to the mix. They quickly broke out of that mode and became one of the most creative and boundary pushing bands in the metal today.
On their 5th full length release, “Wavering Radiant”, Isis continue to grow and have quite possibly recorded their best album yet. On their last record, “In the Absence of Truth” the focus on clean vocals resulted in the album lacking Isis’s classic heaviness. On their previous efforts, the deep, guttural growl of vocalist Aaron Turner was used almost as another instrument, weaving in and out of the guitar work, resulting in a heavy atmosphere that was not as prevalent on “in The Absence of Truth.” Fortunately, “Wavering Radiant” has returned to a balance of clean and dirty vocals and it is the best they have ever sounded. Harsh, growling vocals are used to complement the heavier parts of the songs, while clean vocals are often used during the more melodic breakdowns. Both vocal styles are mixed lower on the records, blending them even further into the music.
Musically, the band has once again stepped up and broken new ground. Drummer Aaron Harris, hands down one of the best drummers in music today, provides a solid back bone. He’s not a flashy, overly technical drummer, yet he provides a powerful backbeat, simple and effective at times, complex and technical when needed. Bassist Jeff Caxide settles in to the backbeat and delivers rhythms that guide the rest of the band. One of the elements that really sets this record apart from their other records, is the more prominent use of keyboards. Bryant Clifford Meyer’s keyboards add a greater emotional texture to the songs. These elements all combine to provide a canvas for Guitarists Aaron Turner, Bryant Clifford Meyer and Michael Gallagher to paint their powerful pictures.
While each member of Isis could be considered one of the best for their respective instruments, and each could easily be the star, what makes Isis such a great band is that they work together, each complimenting the other, resulting in a perfect balance that delivers some heavy, yet beautiful music.