Review Summary: A divine album - dark, deep and dense yet always beautiful, something to get lost in time after time.
Bands such as ISIS come few and far between. The majority of people whom have heard of the band will know that they were a force to be reckoned with in the post metal genre, releasing a fantastic array of brilliant, creative and most certainly beautiful albums. Oceanic is often regarded as one of, if not the best that they produced during their career. As far as their discography is concerned, plenty of people will happily note that the band always released quality music. Oceanic is most certainly a beautiful album - however, it is one that is wrapped up in a deep, dark yet highly engaging concept. I won't delve into the concept too much as I'm sure you, or any listener, would like to discover the hidden depths of such an album for themselves.
The album opens up with quite possibly the highlight of the album in the form of The Beginning and the End
. As with most of the band's music, everything is built in layers of sound - the conglomerate of instruments focus on providing a deep sense of driving rhythm mixed with intricate melody. Aaron Turner's vocals are of course at the forefront of this aural assault - his pained yells and roars suit the atmosphere of the music very well. The Other
continues in the same vein, providing the listener with build ups and climaxes that manoeuvre through various waves of emotionally powerful sounds. In other words, as with pretty much everything the band produced, the music created has a certain quality that hooks the listener in and keeps them listening. Songs are lengthy yet never overwhelming. Through using a superb array of different musical techniques, ISIS keep the listener interested in everything they hear, from the density of the sound created, to the atmospheres and general feel of each song. Other album highlights include the breath-taking Carry
and instrumental powerhouse Weight
. The latter features some great female vocals and is masterful mix of build up and beauty. It has to be said that Weight
is probably one of the best songs the band ever made and to those wanting a taste of what the band were capable of should listen to this.
As with most concept albums, replay value is often key to uncovering the essence of what the band were trying to convey whilst writing it. As I said before, I won't divulge what the concept is in this review but it is well worth looking into if you want to experience the full breadth of beauty and marvel that the music invokes in the listener. Whilst the band may not be with us anymore, at least fans (new and old alike) can appreciate the excellence and wonder that ISIS managed to inject into the post metal scene with albums such as this. Even though Oceanic is perhaps not as accessible as some of the bands later releases, it is undoubtedly a huge work of art that is well worth getting your teeth into if you are a fan of dense yet intelligent heavy music. As the album name suggests, it is something to get lost in, swim through, discover and most certainly bathe in. Enjoyable in almost every regard, Oceanic is an incredible album that demands your attention. One of the best albums in the genre.