Sound — 9
In the Absence of Truth proves that Isis is able to evolve. While 2004's Panopiticon further devolped on the style that was created on Oceanic, In the Absence of Truth redefines Isis. After basically creating the post-metal genre, loads of similar bands (Pelican, Cult Of Luna) emerged and started playing around with the new found sound. ItAoT overall has a more Arabesque feel to most of the songs but there is still the single-note melodies, lengthy buildups, and guttural screaming of Aaron Turner. The two major changes in the Isis sound is that there are more tribal drum beats and also tons more clean vocals The tribal drum beats may have come from touring with the prog masters Tool and their drummer Danney Carey.
Lyrics — 10
On the front cover of the CD is the quote "Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted." According to the liner notes, this quote is attributed to Hassan-i-Sabbah, a 12th century Islamic cultist who basically convinced his followers into believing he was the representation of God on earth. Lyrically, the entire CD plays around with this concept of perception, but the album does not soley base itself off of Hassan-i-Sabbah. Some of the sources for lyrics also come from the books "Don Quixote", "House of Leaves", "Labryinths", and even the Christian Bible. Isis has yet to disclose the official lyrics for the album, but what I can make of them I am duly impressed with the level of thought but into them.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is just another step in the evolution of Isis. Since it's difficult to sum up the album in a few words, I'll just do a song by song overview. 01. Wrists Of Kings - a great opener for an album like this. Starts off with a single droning keyboard note and then bursts into the tribal rhythms that make up the main portion of this CD. Good middle and it has a really god ending. 02. Not In Rivers, But In Drops - one of the heavier songs off of this album. Jumps right into the action and goes into a really quick verse/chorus/verse thing and then continues into small little buildups. I quite like Turner's yelling over a small little heavy groove riff. 03. Dulcinea - great clean vocals and guitar riffs. My 2nd favorite song off of the cd. Eventually near the middle the song changes pace and an amazingly lengthy, vocalless buildup gets thrown in the mix and makes the song even better. 04. Over Root And Thorn - starts off with ambient noise. Eventually a good solid clean bass riff pops in and leads the song in a mellow direction until it just suddenly stops and breaks into a very atmospherey little section with some tabla drums and some very nice clean vocals and goes like into a really heavy-ass breakdown that would make small children cry. 05. 1,000 Shards - probably the best example of how Isis's sound has changed on this album. Very effect heavy "verse" and then my a really great chorus with the vocals done over with a really nice chorus effect. Good e-bow solo in the middle. And then another screaming breakdown (this album has quite a lot of those). 06. All Out Of Time, All Into Space - a filler track of ambient noise. When Isis plays live this song is always followed by Holy Tears 07. Holy Tears - the only single off of the album (complete with music video, go check out youtube for it) and also the heaviest song off of it. Starts right of with a blisteringly heavy riff and the goes between that and a atmosphery verse for a while. Goes also into a really neat instrumental section that builds up and eventually leads back into the opening riff. 08. Firdous E Bareen - an epic instrumental. Very arabesque. Has lots of tabla beats and fading in and out snare hits. Just listen to this one for yourself. 09. Garden Of Light - best song off of this cd. Starts off very mellow and goes into a slight buildup and then works it's way towards a heavier middle. Turner's lyrics are phenomenal "You are the face of god/You are the lamb/My life/I give." But what makes this song so great is the last 5 minutes of it. Harris (the drummer) moves the song into a tribal beat and continues into a beautiful optimistic sounding build up. One of the best songs ever. If you're going to illegally download a song, go for this one.