Isis
Panopticon


5.0
classic

Review

by caspian USER (6 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 68 replies | 7,725 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

I’m pretty bad at writing reviews, so I'll just cut to the chase and review song by song:

So did we
The best song on the album. It starts off with a pretty heavy and some shouted vocals, but that’s not really an indication of what’s too come. It quickly goes into a great melodic part and stays there for a while, slowly building up the tension. One thing that is particularly good about this song is the vocal melody line. Aaron Turner isn’t the best vocalist ever, but the sung section sent shivers down my spine when I first heard it. The ending is amazing. There’s some heavy guitars with a weird high pitched (synth?) line over the top. This is a good introduction to Isis, as its also the song that changes the most on this album

Backlit
This one opens wth a nice major key guitar line. The bass sounds particularly good in this song, it really makes it better. The riffing does seem a little bit lazy in some parts of this song (chromatic descending riff? Wtf?) but its still pretty **** good. Another problem would be the build up in the second half of the song. I’m all for building up tension, but it just takes too long. Still, its a very good song. 4/5.

In fiction
The weakest song on the album. There’s a great minor-key intro riff, which you might enjoy at first. Except for the fact that the intro riff goes on for 3 minutes, with little variation except for the bass doing a bit of noodling. The rest of the song is actually quite good, but the problem is getting past that part. It’s really freaking boring. 3/5

Wills Dissolve
This song starts off with an absolutely beautiful synth part. Like In fiction, this song takes a very long time to get going. However, it doesn’t get boring, with the intro riff (a kind of classical minor key guitar bit) being busy enough to keep your interest. This song gets pretty heavy, it’s probably got the fastest bits on the album (which isn’t very fast, but still.) That’s one of the great things about Isis. They don’t have to be very fast to blow your mind. This song builds up again and again, with a great ending. 5/5.

Syndic Calls
I wish I knew what the song title meant, but that doesn’t take away from a kick *** song. This song is a bit similar to Backlit in terms of structure, with 2 clearly different parts. The first part isn’t up to much, but the second part is incredible. Over the heavy riffing and pounding drums there’s some great synths that really push this song on to the next level. There’s also some pretty good singing and screaming in this song. This song is incredible. It has it all: singing, screaming, clean, heavy, beauty and erm... brutality. 5/5

Altered Course
This is my favourite song on the album. This song guest stars the tool bassist, but I cant really see why he’s here. This song seems to be the least favourite for most metal fans I know, but that’s fair enough, because this song is really slow for the most part. The first 3 minutes are pretty heavy, with a lot of riffing, and for this part it seems like its the heaviest song yet. However, the last 7 (!) minutes is very slow synth beats. Its almost like a Trance track. That doesn’t detract from it though. Over the 7 minutes, the synths slowly build up on top of each other over and over again. It’s very beautiful (as I’ve said about 5 times) but extremely repetitive. Not a song for Grindcore fans though. 5/5.

Grinning Mouths
This song is back to the heaviness. It starts off with a fairly upbeat heavy riff, and it mutates and morphs over the 8 minutes. There’s some fairly conventional riffing at the end of this song, instead of the "Big chords of doom" style that’s in most of this CD. Its still amazing. Once again, there are some awesome synths over the riffing at the end of the song, but they play more of a background role. The climax is stunning, and appropriate for an album as good as this one. The drums really pound out the beats with some big guitar riffing. Again, an excellent song. 5/5.

Simply put, this is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Someone described this as "Classical written by Heavy Metal Fans" and I can agree with that. These songs aren’t really about the destination; they’re about the journey. The soundscapes created in this album are mystical, brutal, uplifting, depressing and beautiful. They’re everything you could want. It speaks volumes that people from my mum to me to my death metal fanatic friend can like this record. It’s an incredible record, the kind of record that only comes once in a lifetime. The one problem with this record could be the production, with the vocals very hard to understand (although that might he deliberate) and the guitars way too distorted in some parts. Otherwise though, this record is brilliant.



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user ratings (2125)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Dancin' Man
January 11th 2005



719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cool. This is a really awesome album. Nice work man. You rated a little too high though. I'd give it 4.5/5

SubtleDagger
January 11th 2005



737 Comments


I haven't heard this, but I'm pretty damn sure it's not doom metal, knowing Isis as I do.

Dancin' Man
January 11th 2005



719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It has that sort of drone to it that lots of Doom does though.

BuddyBigsby
January 11th 2005



531 Comments


yeahhh it's still not really doom though. I'd go with Sludge.

Great band, great album. *is wearing Isis shirt right now*
I love to listen to this when I'm down or when I go to sleep, it's such an epic CD and a fitting follow-up to Oceanic. I think my favorite track is "Grinning Mouths", and for some reason I love that repetitive bass note that happens over and over, which I think Justin Chancellor does.

FadedSun
January 11th 2005



1242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought, Justin played the bass line on Grinning Mouths as well, because it sounds like his tone. But he only plays on Altered Course.

I saw Isis in December. I'd have to say it was one of the most amazing shows i've seen besides Opeth or Tool. It sounded much better live.

Great review by the way. I agree, this is one of the best albums ever.

Dancin' Man
January 11th 2005



719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Those last two posts got me thinking - Isis opens for Tool on next tour?

Tangy zizzle
January 11th 2005



253 Comments


Doom Metal?

FadedSun
January 11th 2005



1242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't even think Isis has played any big venues before. I can't imagine what it would sound like in an arena as opposed to a small club.

Dark Hero
January 11th 2005



160 Comments


ISIS are amazing, great review also.

Conor
January 11th 2005



4 Comments


One of my favourite CD's. My top songs seem to be the exact opposite of yours.

I think if they tightened up the songs a bit and had more of the epic, all-too-rare singing explosions, a la ending to Syndic Calls and Grinning Mouths, they would be twice as addictive for me. I find the instrumentals a little bit monotonous at times.

Conor
January 11th 2005



4 Comments


[QUOTE=Fast Fingers]Those last two posts got me thinking - Isis opens for Tool on next tour?[/QUOTE]Well, Justin Chancellor hinted at it, but I don't know if that means it'd be his choice for an opening band, or if its official.

caspian
January 12th 2005



38 Comments


yeah, I know theyre not really doom metal, but thats what I've generally heard them catebgorised as. Conor, I prefer the instrumental parts. The only part IMO where the singing improves the songs is the sung part in So did we.

Bartender
Emeritus
January 12th 2005



826 Comments


[QUOTE=Conor]I think if they .. had more of the epic, all-too-rare singing explosions, a la ending to Syndic Calls and Grinning Mouths, they would be twice as addictive for me. [/QUOTE]

I'd be willing to bet that at least part, if not most, of your love for the singing explosions is due to their rarity. You'd get jaded too easily if they had them too often.

Toozey
January 12th 2005



77 Comments


No Doom Metal here.

Conor
January 12th 2005



4 Comments


[QUOTE=Bartender]I'd be willing to bet that at least part, if not most, of your love for the singing explosions is due to their rarity. You'd get jaded too easily if they had them too often.[/QUOTE]Yeah, but with Isis I get a feeling they get off having very abstract song structures and creating atmosphere, which is part of what makes them an excellent band, but on the other hand my favourite parts are when they do the conventional vocal melodies, I don't want them throwing those parts out left and right, and I do love waiting for them, and I do love the instrumentals, but that is the one thing I'd change about them to make them my perfect band. Of course I'm just getting into them so this could all change in a week.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 14th 2005



2125 Comments


Good album, good review, bad genre classification.

FadedSun
January 15th 2005



1242 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What should they be called? Atmospheric metal?

Dancin' Man
January 15th 2005



719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That is closer. I just heard Mosquito Control and ****, it is good.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
January 15th 2005



2125 Comments


[QUOTE=FadedSun]What should they be called? Atmospheric metal?[/QUOTE]

That's a good classification. I just called 'em "Metal".

Dancin' Man
January 15th 2005



719 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's the same sort of thing as Mastodon. You feel like you should categorize them as something more specific than metal but there isn't anything that fits right.



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