johnnydeking29
johnny of the Well
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Last Active 06-19-14 5:13 pm
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06.16.14 My New (free) Album05.21.14 Openers From Debut Albums II
05.19.14 New Album From Johnnydeking2905.18.14 I Made A Music Video...
04.29.14 New Album Teaser03.25.14 Check My New Song! New Storm Daughter
03.08.14 Kezia Is A 5...01.19.14 New Ornstein's Puppy Ep
08.24.13 All Kayo Dot Songs Ranked07.31.13 Saw Circle Takes The Square Live
07.20.13 All Isis Songs Ranked06.27.13 Download My New Album
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05.14.13 Recs For Sputnik (FREE BANDCAMP) 05.10.13 Choirs Of The Eye Vs Homogenic
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All Isis Songs Ranked

My ranking of every Isis song (from full-lengths only), and (because I know you care) I even added rdescriptions
40Isis
In the Absence of Truth


All Out Of Time, All Into Space - a boring, unnecessarily long interlude of near-silence. Adequate intro for Holy Tears.
39Isis
Celestial


SGNL>1/2/3/4 - These interludes aren't as annoying as All Out Of Time, but don't add much (although having a pause for breath in between Celestial's more brutal moments is helpful)
38Isis
Oceanic


(-) - there's not really anything to say for this...an extended burst of static that signals a short lapse of the pummelling force of Oceanic
37Isis
Wavering Radiant


Wavering Radiant - a short, ambient interlude; nothing special, but an effective break in the album
36Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Dulcinea - Possibly Isis' most overrated song, I find the first few minutes fairly engaging but the rest just seems bland and uninteresting; it's probably the best example of everything I dislike about ITAOT although it's by no means bad, just...underwhelming
35Isis
Oceanic


Maritime - Isis' best interlude; an all-round pleasant experience
34Isis
Celestial


Collapse and Crush - the first of Celestial's powerhouse tracks to feature on the list. I find Collapse and Crush especially slow and doomy and whilst I enjoy it, I feel like it lacks focus in places and fails to distinguish itself against the rest of the album
33Isis
Oceanic


The Other - this was the first Isis song I ever heard and, not gonna lie, I hated it at first (I can't remember any other song ever making me feel physically sick on first listen). Having gotten into Isis through Panopticon and survived a few listens of Celestial, I found it somewhat more listenable although it lacks the brilliant structuring of the rest of Oceanic
32Isis
Celestial


Deconstructing Towers - the heaviest song of Isis' heaviest album, Deconstructing Towers is crushing to the degree that I actually find it hard not to chuckle hysterically when thinking of it. It's a very, very rough ride that works well when in the right mood but doesn't have much relistening appeal
31Isis
Panopticon


Altered Course - ...and finally, this list is graced with a song from the mighty Panopticon. I have often criticised Altered Course for being boring and overlong but, I have to admit, it is mesmerising in its ambience. Isis hadn't perfected the art of the captivating instrumental by this stage (see Firdous E Bareen), but they made a solid effort
30Isis
In the Absence of Truth


1000 Shards - In the Absence of Truth is my least favourite Isis album, and 1000 Shards is probably the song through which I understand it most - it's well-structured, has a distinctively spiritual/slightly mysterious atmosphere and even a hook or two, but its overall vibe only manages to engage me up to a point; I can enjoy it but I can't lose myself in it completely (which, ultimately, is the reason I love Isis)
29Isis
Oceanic


Hym - Oceanic's closer is first decisively scathing and then morphs into a numbing drone, which I think is a great way to finish. It's heavy pretty much the whole way through and consequentially isn't as memorable as the rest of the album, but is a blast anyway
28Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Garden of Light - this is a very tricky song to rank; the first half is a great example of everything I love about ITAOT (the mysterious vibe and slick structure), but the second half is made up of the boring, unmemorable post-rock that dragged the album down for me. I suppose that makes it a fitting closer, but it still feels rather lacking
27Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Not in Rivers, But in Drops - this is one of Isis' more fast-paced songs and manages to evolve, rock out and sound mysterious at the same time. I still can't work out whether it's well-written or over-saturated with ideas, but it's fun and engaging for sure
26Isis
Wavering Radiant


Hand of the Host - whilst it is most definitely an excellent song, I view Hand of the Host more as part of the album than as a single, distinctive song (and yes, that is a recurring theme for all Isis songs, but it's especially true here). Everything good about Wavering Radiant can be found here (the dark, melodic vibe and the organic feel) but it lacks the huge climaxes of the better songs
25Isis
Wavering Radiant


Stone To Wake A Serpent - a similar story to Hand of the Host, but Stone to Wake a Serpent distinguishes itself more through containing one of Aaron Turner's best clean vocal performances and a great climax near the end. NB from this point upwards, the list is pure excellence; Isis don't really have any bad songs, but those with notable flaws have now all been weeded out
24Isis
Panopticon


Backlit - the slightly brittle atmosphere at the start suits this song well and contrasts nicely with the sludgier parts that crop up throughout it; I see it more as part of Panopticon as a whole than as a stand-out but still enjoy it greatly on its own
23Isis
Celestial


Gentle Time - I absolutely love how evil this song sounds; it maintains Celestial's crushing edge but slows it down in places with wonderfully sinister results. Its dynamic range is solid and I don't think they could have closed the album in a better way
22Isis
Celestial


Glisten - ugly even by the standards of the album, Glisten is a behemoth from start to finish. It's abrasive to the extent that its overpowering, and I love it for that (and also for the fact that its clean interlude is crude enough to sound as heavy as the rest of it)
21Isis
Celestial


C.F.T. (New Circuitry And Continued Evolution) - CFT is nothing short of perfect in the context of its placement in the album; a clean break in Celestial was unexpected but definitely worthwhile. Its dreamy, almost aimless vibe makes it very immersive and I find it great to relax to
20Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Wrists of Kings - if there's one thing that Isis have always been able to do, it's to write an epic opener and Wrists of Kings does not disappoint; the tom-heavy style of drumming that Aaron Harris deployed so irritatingly often on ITAOT works very well here, the sinister introduction is perfect, the verse displays Aaron Turner's clean vox staggeringly well and the heavy build at the end completes it nicely. For me, this song shows Isis trying something new and getting it exactly right; even though this sound had several 'failed drafts' (see: all ITAOT songs ranked below Not In Rivers, But In Drops), it was worth it for this
19Isis
Panopticon


In Fiction - ah, the definitive Isis song. A while ago, I would have put In Fiction significantly higher but now it has become somewhat predictable and lacks the awe-inspiring sense of scale that it used to have. It does, however, demonstrate everything that makes Isis' sound powerful and even if it has grown of me a bit, it is still a force to be reckoned with
18Isis
Oceanic


False Light - one of Oceanic's heavier moments, the first half of this captures the feeling of a ship in the middle of a stormy ocean unbelievably well, and this is complimented nicely by the slightly playful feel of the interlude - in fact, whilst it is still crushing, False Light doesn't feel quite as overwhelming and serious as most other Oceanic songs and benefits nicely from this
17Isis
Celestial


Swarm Reigns (Down) - blisteringly heavy and oddly catchy due to a primally crude use of triplets in the verse, this song captures the fury of a swarm attack disconcertingly well and is strangely infectious
16Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Over Root and Thorn - I think this has the most distinctive atmosphere of any Isis song; the faraway, alien feel of it is hugely immersive, mysterious and - in a strange way - even slightly nostalgic. It easily distinguishes itself against the rest of the album and is a reminder that Isis are able to retain their core sound whilst utilising it in different ways. Very underrated.
15Isis
Panopticon


Wills Dissolve - the segue from In Fiction in to this is extraordinary, and becomes even more through the contrast between the soaring climaxes of In Fiction and this, one of Panopticon's darker tracks. There's not much more that I can say for this; it's great example of the expansive atmosphere that makes Panopticon so successful
14Isis
Wavering Radiant


Ghost Key - opening up with a synth hook and immediately settling into a very organic vibe, this is a great display of how far Isis had evolved by the time they got to album #5. Ghost Key has a great dynamic range and turns from relaxing moments of ambience to heavier sections (which are very immersive in themselves) at a moment's notice. It also contains a breakdown that, in my opinion, is Isis' heaviest moment since Celestial. Overall, I love this song for being a fascinating progression that engages throughout
13Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Firdous E Bareen - the most underrated song in their discography, I am staggered at how rarely Firdous gets mentioned. The ambience exhibited in its 8 minute runtime is hypnotising from start to finish, as it builds up and down subtly and absolutely mesmerises me. This is an absolute gem and adds a good deal of variety to a somewhat stagnant album
12Isis
Wavering Radiant


20 Minutes/40 Years - this song succeeds through using the climax effect that characterises Isis, but doing so in an incredibly natural manner; it doesn't 'build', but 'grows' into moments of absolute bliss. Oh, and it features a killer riff at the end
11Isis
Oceanic


Weight - to evolve continuously over 10 minutes towards a single climax is no mean feat but Weight accomplishes it in style, teasing the listener with sub-builds (if there's such a thing) on the way and demonstrating that Isis didn't need the organic sound of later albums to sound hugely engaging
10Isis
Oceanic


From Sinking - the top 10 opens with one of Oceanic's rougher moments; From Sinking is rather gruff and overpowering for its first few minutes and sounds increasingly epic until it peaks, stops and then turns into one of the greatest moments of Isis' discography - the clean break. The guitars use incredibly simple melodies but somehow manage to sound incredibly heartfelt - the fear, desperation and regret packed into those few notes is hard to believe, and the contrast with the harshness that characterises the rest of the song is SO perfect. Truly a powerful song, and it says a lot for Isis that such a song is only at #10
9Isis
Wavering Radiant


Hall of the Dead - the second opener so far clocks in at number 9 (see what I said about Isis and their openers? There are still 3 more...), and what an opener it is! The progression throughout the song is astounding (the almost sporadic structure of the first half, followed by the slow build of the second is masterful) and the overall feel is awe-inspiring - the lyric 'The sun makes its way in, destitute' captures the feeling of the song perfectly, especially the grandiose climax of the second half, which is the sonic equivalent of feeling ascending sunbeams on one's face and blissfully experiencing the moment
8Isis
Panopticon


Syndic Calls - I initially found this song somewhat confusing, since it takes so long for each of its builds that it seemed staggered and convoluted. However, after a huge amount of further listening I really appreciate the extra time that it takes to evolve; nothing here feels rushed and its natural progression works wonders; Panopticon works through being expansive, and Syndic Calls takes that sound as far as it can go
7Isis
In the Absence of Truth


Holy Tears - my favourite song from ITAOT is, funnily enough, the song that sounds most out of place on that album; this, in my opinion, belongs on Panopticon (or maybe even Wavering Radiant). The hugeness of the first section is incredibly engaging, and by cutting it short and dropping straight into the ambient middle part, Isis make the introduction as pithy and infectious as it is engaging, immediately securing replay value. Needless to say, the ambient section and the louder build towards the end are Isis at their best and this, along with In Fiction, is probably the song that best displays their signature sound
6Isis
Celestial


Celestial (The Tower) - WHAT a way to start an album! Celestial's title track isn't as scathing or abrasive as some parts of the album, but it is possibly the most monolithic thing Isis ever recorded; the sense of scale here is very hard to describe sincerely (the closest I've come is 'like a volcano giving birth'), and by switching to the calmer second half without warning, Isis proved that they understood dynamics right from the start, even if they were intent on recording a debut that could be heard from Pluto
5Isis
Oceanic


Carry - in my opinion, Carry contains Isis' best single build-up. The manner in which it evolves from the feedback which continues from False Light into a panic-laden, jagged rhythm that then itself evolves into brutal distortion is slick beyond belief and almost overwhelming in its scope; it's easy to see why they had to follow it with 2 minutes of static and an acoustic instrumental
4Isis
Wavering Radiant


Threshold of Transformation - the final track of Isis' final album was always going to be an emotional one, but I don't think that it would have been fair to expect something as grand as this. The first half is dark, heavy and pretty full-throttle; the listener is given no pause for breath and dragged through various palm-muted riffs, manic growls and keys that become increasingly frantic and epic; it is intense and powerful, and feels like a sonic journey of sorts. And then, without warning, it calms right down and is driven by a few sparse keyboard notes. The next few minutes are some of the most immersive in this most immersive band's discog; the rhythm section builds slowly over the nearest thing Isis ever recorded to a guitar solo. It peaks in a similar way that Hall of the Dead did, Aaron Turner croons something indecipherable, and the feeling of a band at the top of its game looking back at its legacy and ending without regrets is strong. Then it ends and fades away, and that's it; a stunning way to finish a career.
3Isis
Panopticon


So Did We - the first Isis song that I ever heard and liked, So Did We is the perfect introduction for Panopticon, introducing its huge, panoramic feel from the word go and settling into an ambient section that manages to combine the expansive feel of the album with a claustrophobic edge truly beautifully. It summarises everything that the album sets out to achieve, stands out amongst the other tracks on the album and is a highlight of their discography; what more could one ask for?
2Isis
Oceanic


The Beginning and the End - ...and we finally arrive at Isis' strongest opener; The Beginning and the End balances crushing moments, rocky moments and beautiful moments accordingly, but what makes it sound really distinctive is that it never really slows down; it is a sludgy, mid-paced song from start to finish and is absolutely perfect in being such a song.
1Isis
Panopticon


Grinning Mouths - I suppose it's rather funny that I rate a closer as the best song from a band that excels at writing openers, but Grinning Mouths easily deserves it. In the context of what I have said for other songs on this list, I'm not sure that I could write a convincing description without being (even more) sickeningly hyperbolic, so let's just say that epic doesn't even come close to this song.
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