Monday, April 4, 2011

Isis - Celestial + SGNL>05

2000; 11 tracks

2001; 5 tracks

I am firmly convinced that there is a hardly more adept band (at least of this genre) than Isis when it comes to an essential part of music - story-telling. Listening to these 16 tracks in succession, however, is a slightly different experience than gathering around a fire to hear ancient tales be told. No, this is a journey, through deserts of blistering heat and jungles of abandoned construction equipment. A sea of wires and ends that will never meet, Celestial, along with SGNL>05, combine the basest of emotions stripped bare and the rawest forms of post-metal in such a way that it is, frankly, haunting. They are both brutally poetic, at times, but thoroughly beautiful... see "Celestial (Fills the Void)" from the EP (remixed by Justin Broadrick, whose influence is clear throughout much of Isis' music).

I love the entire discography of Isis. They are a truly gifted band and albums like Oceanic and Panopticon (and Wavering Radiant) are just... breathtaking. With these two releases, however, some of the band's early heavy sound can be heard. Celestial is the band's first full-length album, and SGNL>05 is an extension of the album released as an EP less than a year later. I love love love listening to these together - Isis is a band from whom I can never turn myself away.

In the words of one review (it's a great one, here):

"God, it’s beautiful to come across a group that is as driven by the desire to level as they are by the desire to create an interesting, layered, lasting piece of art that appeals to so many different senses and faculties. Listening to Celestial is an all-consuming experience, one that satisfies every part of the animal brain."

Do you ever get that feeling that you're sinking?
I do.


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