Isis – Wavering Radiant (Ipecac Records)

Saturday, 16th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Crucial, vital, explosive Isis…that’s what we’re getting with Wavering Radiant. Sure, there was a bit of letdown with 2006’s In the Absence of Truth, but fact of the matter is the band could only go once place and that was down after 2004’s genius Panopticon. All this makes Wavering Radiant a rebound album and an excellent one at that.

Hardly a rehash of the aforementioned Panopticon and 2002’s equally as measured OceanicWavering Radiant sees the now bi-coastal metalgazers make several firm indentations on the sound they (and Neurosis, to a much larger extent) created. Whether it’s opener “Hail of the Dead” – a big, boomy, carnival-like jam (the keys from Bryant Clifford Meyer make this go) or the now-patented gentle ebb and ebb and ebb and ebb of “Hand of the Host,” Isis has made a concerted effort to blow us up with the things they do best.

Singer/vocalist/main dude Aaron Turner turns in perhaps his best vocal performance of his career, weaving those rasps-from-hell into a controlled clean vocal attack. It’s quite massive, just take a peak at “Ghost Key” or album highlight “Stone To Wake A Serpent.”

We’ll keep coming back to how cohesive Wavering Radiant is, and that’s the defining trait here. The sonics are gargantuan, a credit to producer Joe Barresi’s knob-twiddling expertise, plus the band has to feel the likes of Rosetta, Cult of Luna, and Mouth of the Architect nipping at its heels. How could they not?

Very much the defining band of the metalgaze era (which has surprisingly been able to sustain itself), Isis now have a trifecta of albums (OceanicPanopticonand now Wavering Radiant) to their heralded name. Lap this up; soak it in – Isis are a resilient bunch. And still the kings of metalgaze, mind you.

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