In this age of Ph.D. metal, Isis is undoubtedly a dean of the new school. The group blends the intricate sweep of King Crimson-style prog rock, the deft whisper-to-roar-and-back dynamics of Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and the doomy power-sludge headtrips of Neurosis and the Melvins. Since '99, the Los Angeles quintet has cranked out a half-dozen discs of smart, brooding, serpentine metal with a scope that usually lives up to the title of its 2002 masterpiece, Oceanic.
The fivesome is led by singer-guitarist Aaron Turner, whose howls have been so entombed in a thick sonic mud that one might mistake Isis for an instrumental outfit. That's changing, if the new seven-minute song "Dulcinea" (on the group's MySpace page) is a bellwether for the forthcoming In the Absence of Truth, due out Halloween. The track features Turner's voice -- upfront, melodic, and fervent -- until the guitar lava erupts a few minutes in and obliterates everything in its path, finally yielding to a pretty, space-rock/post-rock outro.
Tool, the headliner, does everything Isis does, only more bombastically, elaborately, mystically, nihilistically, and dramatically. Better, however, is in the eye of the beholder.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.