Review Summary: Not their best album but by far one of the most intricate and beautifully composed pieces of music to be unleashed in the past twenty or so years. Superb offering from the post metal titans.
ISIS are one of those bands that have always been consistent with their releases. Their discography holds host to some phenomenal albums, such as Panopticon
and fan favourite, Oceanic
. The main thing, I believe, that draws people to the band is their ability to amalgamate dense, heavy pieces of music with beautiful, often ethereal and haunting clean sections. This album is no exception - it can even be said that the use of 'clean' is more present on In the Absence of Truth
when compared to their other releases.
The album opens up with a swell of noise, before the opening guitar notes are played. Wrists of Kings
develops in layers over the course of the track - much like a lot of ISIS' work. The almost tribal-esque drumming is hypnotic and very well played. After the introduction, the track settles into a nice clean section. Solid rhythm work and great guitar lines keep things interesting. Aaron Turner's' voice is majestically well projected. Towards the end of the track, his gruff vocals sound out. And they are as fierce as ever.
Not in Rivers, But in Drops
begins with a pulsing bass line and whirling guitar. Aaron's voice is as soothing as ever and as the track progresses, more of those wonderful clean sections surface. Simple yet incredibly effective single notes from the guitar and some nice drum patterns move the song into heavier territory. The main riff at 2:35 is dense and contrasts the cleaner sections of the song very well. Dulcinea
is one of my most loved tracks on the album. The song opens with some pleasant guitars and tuneful wailing from Aaron. After a couple of minutes of ethereal cleanliness, the track shifts once more into a heavier section. Throughout the whole album it can be noted that these transitions are performed wonderfully well. One of the best clean sections on the whole album comes just after this section - the drums turn tribal once more and the guitars laid out over the top are executed superbly.
Over Root and Thorn
and 1,000 Shards
aren't notable tracks but they are decent. More of the same sort of formula is deployed - clean to dense transitions and spiralling guitars and drums. Another notable feature of ISIS' music is the wonderful bass lines that shine through. Never going unheard, the bass is thick and delivers some excellent lines, not always following the guitars and often branching out into more interesting territory. All Out of Time, All Into Space
is an ambient track, serving as an introductory piece to the albums' single, Holy Tears
. This one starts off heavy, before changing instantly to a more mellow section. The bass is of note, driving the song between the heavy and mellow sections.
Firduous E Bareen
is a beautiful instrumental piece, serving as an intro to the albums' closer, Garden of Light
. The introduction is a mish mash of well programmed electronics and wonderfully calm and intricate guitar and drum work. At just under 8 minutes, you wouldn't really think time has passed at all listening to it. The album ends on a high with Garden of Light
, with some fantastic drumming yet again and some wonderful developments on all the instruments, as well as Turners' voice.
Overall, this falls short of being yet another classic ISIS album. It can be said that the middle of the album isn't as great as the beginning or end. However, every track here serves its purpose. For those whom are interested, this is a conceptual album, based a little on Mark Danielewski's post modern horror novel House of Leaves
. I myself know little about the ties so I'll leave that for you, the listener, to discover. In all, this album isn't far off a 5 rating. A superbly well composed and rewarding listen with much replay value.
Wrists of Kings
Firduous E Bareen
Garden of Light