Isis - Wavering Radiant
When anticipating an album as much as I have Wavering Radiant it's difficult to set expectations aside. You really have to treat your initial listen as if it were a wine you were tasting for the first time. Before you can adequately digest it, you have to give it a look and a good sniff to get an idea of the composition. Then you can accurately set your senses to determine quality. If you throw a Merlot down your gullet when you're expecting a Bordeaux, you're in for automatic disappointment.
So, keeping that in mind, I gave Wavering Radiant two full spins before I began formulating my opinion. Over the course of those listens I tried to discharge all bias and assumption. Isis's last album (In the Absence of Truth) is one of my favorites. Ever. Fortunately, for objectivity's sake, Wavering Radiant has very little in common with its predecessor.
In fact, if you were looking for a comparable album you'd probably want to go back to Panopticon. Turner's singing is clearer as he continues to slowly emerge from his seemingly shy vocal contributions but that's all that seems to have taken a noticeable step forward. Everything from the guitar tone to the structure of the songs sounds traditional. The slowly building crescendos of In the Absence of Truth have passed and left moody ambience in the furrow of their rage. This is not to say that Isis can't flip the "epic" switch anymore. They still do that better than anyone. The moments where this is evident are simply fewer on this latest offering.
Overall, those looking for a progression of the band will be a bit disappointed. However, Isis fans who enjoy their entire catalogue will find this familiar (after they shed their own expectations) and settle right in for 54 minutes of what first made them fans of the band.
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on 2009-05-06 muddyfish_uk Said:
Isis' have stated that this is their 'pop' album and on listening to the disk it would appear that their reasoning for this is perhaps due to the lack of epic mystical passages which were so prevalent on the wonderful 'In the Absence of Truth', which in turn makes the album a lot more accessible than previous efforts (and in some parts is actually quite catchy). While this is not necessarily a bad thing it may disappoint those hoping for more hypnotic and expansive masterpieces seen on 'Panoptican' and 'In the Absence of Truth'.
The album is as assured as you would expect from Isis. They are masters of their dark craft and one will not be disappointed with the dense noise provided on this disk. The guitars wind around a tight rhythm section and the production places the vocals and percussion at the forefront of the mix, which has previously been overshadowed somewhat by the hypnotic expansive guitar parts seen on previous disks.
As usual, repeated listens are required for the music to fully sink in and if you can get your hands on the lyrics, a whole new element is added. When consolidating the album the stand-out track is arguably 'Ghost Key' with its layers of intricate guitar parts. However, 'Wavering Radiant' has a lot to offer when given the chance and while some (including myself) may be initially disappointed with the lack of drawn out epic passages which prompted states of paralysis and mysticism in the listener on their previous two albums; on repeated listens the intention behind 'Wavering Radiant' becomes apparent and more than likely if you're a fan of intelligent metal/post-metal/prog'-metal, you will enjoy this album.
on 2009-03-26 dscanland Said:
Now that I've given Wavering Radiant a proper couple listens (as recommended by Aaron) if formulated my opinion: IT IS AWESOME! I seriously think that this album may have taken over from Panopticon as my favorite Isis album. And that isn't an easy task. If you are into Tool and have never given Isis a shot, now is the time. This album has a lot in common with the sonics that a Tool album throws at you. And as Aaron stated, Turner's vocals have turned into something special. I was against the band adding vocals to begin with but this album has made me realize exactly what I was missing. Stellar album!
on 2009-03-19 X_NaStY Said:
I recently "acquired" this album as well. I haven't had time to really give it a good listen but what I've listened to has been stellar.
on 2009-03-19 Trismus Said:
well, temper your excitement a hair. it's not "out" until May 5th. but us underground music journalists find our way, if you catch my meaning.
on 2009-03-19 dscanland Said:
That's fantastic! I knew a new Isis was coming out this year but I didn't know it would be this soon. Thanks for making me wet my pants!
on 2009-03-19 Trismus Said:
as an aside, i really wanted to write "OMG ISIS" as my review but managed to curtail my excitement just enough to type something halfway intelligent. i'll be going back to school girl-esque hysteria right now. a thank you.