Isis
Oceanic


5.0
classic

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 1535 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Isis are a metal band from Boston that create incredibly dense music. While their influence is mainly extreme music (metal, hardcore), their music has just as much ambience and atmosphere to it as it does raw agression and complexity. The band layer different types of sounds into their music to create the thick signature sound that is their own. Isis' vocals are a mix of shouting, screaming and singing. The easiest and most obvious band to compare Isis to is Neurosis. Isis formed in 1997 and released their brilliant full length debut album in the year 2000, "Celestial". Oceanic is the group's second full length album.

"Oceanic" is a welcome and most logicals step foward from Isis' debut album, "Celestial". Upon it's release, "Oceanic" met some comparisons to post-rock bands such as Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed! You Black Emperor. While these comparisons may seem inaccurate before hearing the album, these comparisons are actually very well founded. "Oceanic" is not as heavy as "Celestial" but it would stupid to say that this album isn't heavy, because it is extremely heavy, dense and thick music. It's Mastodon meets Mogwai! The album seems to be a concept album, though it is not entirely clear what exactly the concept of it is. The album's songs don't really seem to move towards a conclusion, as much as they seem to evolve towards it.

There is enough of distortion and deathy growls to sastisfy any metalhead, but there is a lot of clean and ambient parts that fans of bands like Radiohead and the aforementioned group of post-rock bands will love. The album's centerpiece, "Maritime" revolves around a clean arpeggiated guitar riff, while the drumming drives it along and bass and electronics swirl around the sounds of the song. The song's follower, "Weight" picks up where it left off, with a good first part of the song being entirely ambient with mainly synth sounds and drums gradually getting louder. The song even has sweet sounding female vocals in it, completely sung with no trace of distortion. At the same time though, the music maintains it's thick, dense sound. The song feels like it will explode into shouted vocals with massive distortion throughout most of it, yet it is impossible to judge when this will happen. The album's heavy parts are also special. It's like taking the sludge metal sounds of the Melvins, mixing them with the vocals of Mastodon and adding Isis' love of ambient electronic sounds to the heavy parts.

Musically, Isis are a brilliant band and without the level of skill that the band have on their instruments, "Oceanic" would most likely fall flat on it's face. Vocally, the music takes a while to get used to, but without the signature vocals, the music would not have a certain quality about it. The lyrics are hard to understand because of the thick delivery but this is a brilliant album lyrically as well. Guitar wise, the album is full of palm muted thick power chords and massive distortion. When clean, the guitars play some very nice leads and arpeggiated melodies, adding to the music's ambience. The bass parts are very nice also, switching between playing melodic and rhythmic parts. The drums on the album are very powerful, much like Dale Crover's role in the Melvins. The best part about the drums is the production. They always sound perfect. The electronics in the band create an ambience that many bands would die for.

Isis second album is perfect in every way. There is not a flaw to be found on the album, except perhaps the length of the songs may not work for some more impatient listeners. But then again, this music isn't really for impatient people.

Pros
- The band are brilliant musicians
- Great atmosphere all through the record
- Every song is equally amazing, there are really no standouts at all
- Thick sound gives Isis a signature tone
- Good lyrics

Cons
- Song length's may bore some listeners

Track Picks
From Sinking
Maritime

For Fans Of:
Neurosis
Mastodon
Tool
Mogwai
Dillinger Escape Plan

FINAL RATING: 5/5



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other reviews of this album
Alex Robertson STAFF (5)
Wow....

Ben Padgett (5)
Probably the most amazing quality to this album is its ability to replicate an ocean. The heavy part...


Comments:Add a Comment 
cbmartinez
January 5th 2005


2525 Comments


Great review. I'm going to check these guys out.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 5th 2005


2125 Comments


I wasn't able to find any sites with mp3s. But the Ipecac website (www.ipecac.com) has a short sample.

FillInTheBlankHere___
January 5th 2005


64 Comments


I've been hearing alot about these guys lately and have been regretting missing their recent show where I live. I'll have to check them out.

Happymeal
January 5th 2005


330 Comments


After hearing Isis for the first time on Celestial I was very impressed. I'll definitely check this one out. Nice review br3ad.

The JoZ
January 5th 2005


345 Comments


For fans of Tool, huh?

I might have to check it out then.

Nra4ever_17
January 5th 2005


65 Comments


From the sample, they seem pretty good, although I don't know if I would call them metal (this is going by 30 seconds though).

unflea
January 5th 2005


11 Comments


They do a cover of Godflesh - Street Cleaner. Is that not metal enough for you?

Isis do rule, though. Props for the review, I'd already had the album ordered before I read it, but it's a good synopsis of what to expect from Isis. Good stuff.

BuddyBigsby
January 5th 2005


531 Comments


Incredible band. "From Sinking" is my favorite from this album.

Tangy zizzle
January 5th 2005


253 Comments


I'm going to disagree with your rating...yet again.

SubtleDagger
January 6th 2005


737 Comments


Not a 5/5. Still, this is the first time I've seen you review a good band in a long time.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 6th 2005


2125 Comments


[QUOTE=Tangy zizzle]I'm going to disagree with your rating...yet again.[/QUOTE]

I didn't think I'd rate it this high either. Yet, when I reviewed it, I couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. I stand by my rating.

[QUOTE=SubtleDagger]Not a 5/5. Still, this is the first time I've seen you review a good band in a long time.[/QUOTE]

The only bad bands I've ever reviewed are 28 Days and Something Corporate.

Scott Herren
January 6th 2005


192 Comments


I believe what he meant to say was

[QUOTE=SubtleDagger]Not a 5/5. Still, this is the first time I've seen you review a metal band in a long time.[/QUOTE]

:wave:

SubtleDagger
January 6th 2005


737 Comments


[QUOTE=Scott Herren]I believe what he meant to say was



:wave:[/QUOTE]
Not true, I've reviewed plenty of non-metal bands that I enjoy (if that was your point).

And I was just saying that I really fucking despise Oasis. :evil:

Scott Herren
January 6th 2005


192 Comments


Is Dashboard Confessional not metal? I've not really heard of them. :p

I'm just playing with you, I actually liked your Tonic review.

SubtleDagger
January 6th 2005


737 Comments


You're the third person who has ever read my Tonic review.

Ornery Cephalopod
January 6th 2005


21 Comments


Great review, great album, etc.

Fun factoid: The female vocals are from Maria Christopher of the band 27, and Turner/Caxide do a guest spot on the 27 song "April". The bands sound nothing alike, but maybe you cool chaps would be interested in this.

The Ashtray Girl
January 6th 2005


108 Comments


Well, you've caught my attention and no mistake

/opens slsk

Your review was simply super-duper!

Dancin' Man
January 6th 2005


719 Comments


I really like this album but some of the songs or sections have a tendency to go on just a little too long.

Dark Hero
January 6th 2005


160 Comments


Great review, I never knew you liked Isis.

forthepeopleofthesun
January 6th 2005


8 Comments


I love Isis and this album.

I can't just listen to single tracks, I just put the CD on repeat and then just space out to some awesome music.



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