Sound — 8
Isis's second offering comes packaged in a sleeve that reminds me for some reason of old sea paintings, and from the first look at that cd it feels as if you are helplessly drowning. In water or sound you're not too sure. This album is milder in a way from the previous full-length, Celestial, but has plenty of heavy sludge moments. Combining some elements of hardcore with its sludge-metal leanings, the album is also very atmospheric and ambient. The band focuses on repetition, textures and feel rather than on technical parts, and though its drone-like characteristics may not be everyone's cup of tea, make no mistake, it's a very focused record with a very clear idea about its identity.
Lyrics — 9
I'm not normally a fan of hardcore-style screams, but I will make an exception for Isis, since it fits in the overall picture fairly well. I would have perhaps said that some ambient, reverb-heavy singing would have added an atmosphere, this works surprisingly well, giving the band a more unique overall sound. Aaron Turner may not be the most versatile vocalist, but as I was saying, it works well withing the boundaries of the band. There are also guest vocalists on the album, that give it some extra edge. The album sleeve comes with jumbled lyrics, and a story relating to the overall album concept that heavily involves water and female themes (the latter corresponds with the band's name in a particular way). Of course it's also possible to search for the lyrics on the net, but even in the form provided, the lyrics are good, and provide good food for the imagination, whether based on the album concept or relating purely to your own ideas.
Overall Impression — 8
Isis owe some of their sound to more doom-oriented and heavier Neurosis, as well as Godflesh. Tool fans will also probably like them for the textural elements and the intelligent concepts, lyrics and approach to music in general. While the music is relatively simple, it's still quite dark; the intensity is immense, and conjures some images that rival a drug experience. My favourite songs would be pretty much everything from "Carry" (track 4) onwards, because I feel that's when the album really takes off. It also has come really nice melodies, which are again simple but very effective and have plenty of feel in them. I can literally feel water splooshing around my feet when I listen to it. I can't say I hate anything about the record, but it has a very specific sound to it, and will not appeal to everyone. The band also put a lot of effort into album art, that definitely gives the cd a unique vibe. Very good stuff.