Wavering Radiant

Written by: PP on 24/04/2009 16:49:45

In many ways, reviewing an Isis album is a lot like reviewing a Tool album. Realistically, you have only two or maybe three weeks to write up a review from the point you receive the record on your desk, whereas ideally you'd need something like three to four months to absorb the behemoth in its entirety. This is because both bands share one thing in common: an unadulterated desire for artistic completeness through intense soundscape experimentation and intricate detail brought by clever progression. Throw in a daunting atmosphere and the reviewer's task is next to impossible, considering the vast amount of other releases we have to pay attention to simultaneously. Anyway, here's my try on "Wavering Radiant", the fifth Isis record.

For starters, the seven track, 54-minute album is divided into 2-track sections: track 1 and 2 are labeled as A1 and A2 respectively, track 3 and 4 are B1, B2 and so forth. What purpose this approach actually serves is still lost on me, but maybe it'll come after subsequent listens. Not long after the Pelican-esque opening riff of "The Hall Of Dead", vocalist Aaron Turner sends the often referenced Opeth-esque growl our way, utilizing his voice as an additional instrument in the Isis experience. Then he brings an interesting contrast in the form of clean vocals almost immediately after, but then again this is textbook Isis for the past few albums, so nothing new here. What's different is the even more extensive Tool referencing in the overall sound, with a number of chord progressions and instrumental passages recalling some of the finer Tool sonics, although that might have something to do with Adam Jones guesting on guitar on two of the tracks.

Large passages of the record are entirely instrumental, leaving plenty of space for the buildups of the dark atmospheres that Isis are masterful at creating. While that certainly creates more astonishing moments than you can count with two hands, it also has the side effect of pushing people such as myself away from the record. All too often do I find the instrumentation interesting - even amazing at times - only to shake my head and think to myself "get to the point already, please". Then again, lots of post-metal has that effect on me, so perhaps I'm just not cut out to enjoy progressive music in general, but I just don't understand the point of taking this long to get to the climax in each song. It's as if there's an immense amount of filler between the good moments and the climax, and I can't seem to figure out why. Although I often tend to avoid using this particular word in reviews, it is the only one that I associate with "Wavering Radiant": boring. It's a boring record that'll only appeal to those who can sit through songs varying between 7 and 10 minutes without feeling like they need to turn their attention elsewhere.


Download: Ghost Key, 20 Minutes / 40 Years
For the fans of: Tool, Pelican, Neurosis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.05.2009
Conspiracy Records
Provided by Target ApS

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI