Isis - _In the Absence of Truth_
by: Kostas Sarampalis (
The new Isis certainly takes a while to sink in. Not because it is complicated or difficult, but mostly because of the maturity of the music and the musicianship. I have only followed this band since the captivating _Oceanic_, but I doubt they need any sort of introduction.From calm opener "Wrists of Kings" to the instrumental duo of closing tracks "Firdous E Bareen" and "Garden of Light", each and every track starts slowly before it builds up into a storm that comes crashing down relentlessly, leaving you soaked and invigorated. Each song evolves into a climax, never meandering or going nowhere. There is purpose in the songs, and an overall feeling of purpose to the whole album. Aaron Turner uses mostly his clean vocals in _In the Absence of Truth_, while his hoarse vocals take the backseat and only appear when the moment demands them. It is interesting to note that although this album flirts with being just instrumental, even though it is not, as vocals are used sparingly and the last two songs are completely free of them.The most apparent thing the listener will immediately realise is that Isis are not a hardcore or even metal band anymore. Rather, they tiptoe the edges of post-rock and post-metal genres, maintaining everything they have been and taking it to the next level. They remind me a lot of Godspeed You Black Emperor! at times. At others, Isis seem to share Pelican's sensibilities of long instrumental songs. They have retained the mild tribal drumming which gives a great atmosphere to the album, and guitars are multilayered, sometimes soft and reflective, others urgent and tortured. Wherever they appear, Aaron's vocals are beautiful and fitting, especially so in "1000 Shards".For me Isis continue the trip they started with _Oceanic_, improving with every release yet remaining steadfast in the quality of their material. This is not an album to quickly pop in the player for a song or two; it requires the listener to pay attention, to get into the mood and try to understand the music. It is as complex as it is straightforward, which is why it takes time to fully release its magic. I simply cannot fault this album in any level and I am confident that it will also last the test of time, remaining relevant years from now.
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