Isis Oceanic & Celestial (RFI)

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Anyone have an opinion on Isis? I've been curious about this group, but all I have heard is a 30 second instrumental slice off of the Ipecac site.

What do you think?

earlnash, Thursday, 1 May 2003 12:39 (nineteen years ago) link

_Oceanic_ was one of my favourite LPs of last year. Mogwai played with Shellac-like precision. Epic stuff.

Wondering Boy Poet, Thursday, 1 May 2003 12:52 (nineteen years ago) link

Wholeheartedly seconded there... to my mind the apogee of that art-metal thread down there somewhere...

DJ Mencap (DJ Mencap), Thursday, 1 May 2003 13:01 (nineteen years ago) link

Just dont get it. Really run of the mill pretentious goth metal. Must try listening again... Perhaps I shouldnt listen to Phantomsmasher and Orthrelm so much

Marinaorgan (Marina Organ), Thursday, 1 May 2003 14:20 (nineteen years ago) link

I thought the album was good but I didn't quite sense its greatness. I was honestly expecting something a little less stern and a little more drift, though, so maybe a relisten is needed.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 14:53 (nineteen years ago) link

It didn't do anything for me, sorry. Is it a Faith No More spinoff?

dog latin (dog latin), Thursday, 1 May 2003 17:26 (nineteen years ago) link

No, not to my knowledge -- just some dudes from Boston.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 17:30 (nineteen years ago) link

Frank Kogan in the *Voice*: "Isis, meanwhile, deserve praise for being the first metal band to come out and admit they're the aural equivalent of calendar art. (Or at least that's how I interpret their album title Oceanic.) They have guitar leads and a singer who does the usual death-metal rasping, but the general movement of the (glacially slow) guitar notes is to take us to gorgeously dark chords that loom massively against the night sky; and these chords are the music's story. Pleasantly engulfing, but you have to like oceans."

Me, I think they're perfect background music for reading and falling asleep and stuff. Definitely not the good-for-you spinach and liver that Orthrelm is. (Which isn't to say I don't think the latter's goofy novelty noize is cute.) But I have trouble telling Isis's songs apart. And next time I go see them play live, I'm bringing a CHAIR.

p.s., re art-metal: I didn't read the thread, though maybe I will eventually. I just want to say that almost ALL metal is art-metal. (I mean, I guess Motorhead and AC/DC aren't. But Zeppelin sure was.)

chuck, Thursday, 1 May 2003 17:40 (nineteen years ago) link

See, it was Frank's take on it that made me interested in the album in the first place, and why I bought it. Rereading this now, I think I was expecting something like Sigur Ros, but actually good. The description's wonderful, but rather than looming over my head it was more lining the horizon.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 17:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Ambient-Metal (Biosphere meets Biohazard?); what a concept. It sounds interesting, I just wish Ipecac wasn't so stingy with the samples. They could put a longer edit of a few tracks to allow people to get the gyst.

From the couple of reviews I have found, their other couple of eps and records are quite a bit different than "Oceanic". Anyone heard those records?

Another record that I am curious about is Sleep's "Jerusalem". There is an interview with Billy Anderson who recorded it in the last Tape Op magazine and it led me to check some reviews and wonder what it sounds like.

earlnash, Thursday, 1 May 2003 17:57 (nineteen years ago) link

Mogwai played with Shellac-like precision.

Wait, someone recommended them to me as a death metal band I'd like because I like Neurosis and hardcore and now they're being compared to two indie rock bands I can't fucking stand. What's the deal? Does this just apply to this particular album?

sundar subramanian (sundar), Thursday, 1 May 2003 18:04 (nineteen years ago) link

For whatever it's worth, I can't stand Mogwai or Shellac (or Sigur Ros for that matter), either, Sundar, but I definitely like Isis. Never heard *Celestial,* but *SGNL>5* or whatever it's called is also quite dreamy (yet still MUSCULAR, somehow. Yet graceful, not clunky.)

chuck, Thursday, 1 May 2003 18:12 (nineteen years ago) link

Isis could comfortably be compared to Neurosis. at least the slow doomy epic kinda Neurosis. they aren't as good as Neurosis though. They are pleasant enough. and yeah, perfect for going to sleep. But Sleep's Jerusalem isn't that good for sleeping. it's good for bong-packing and knife-fighting. a 50 minute epic about weed. and it's worth the money, really.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:22 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm one of those people who got suckered into buying a Mogwai album, Rock Action or whatever, and i still want my money back. fucking boring. and bad. and boring. and tedious. maybe their other stuff is wonderful, who knows.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:24 (nineteen years ago) link

It's all wonderful, Scott. Including Rock Action. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:32 (nineteen years ago) link

well, Ned, give me the title of one that is huge and massive and big and large then. I wanted to like them cuz i need more walls of noise in my house. i like shellac and sigur ros, though.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:35 (nineteen years ago) link

Hey Scott -- So the guy here who designs page layouts for the music section (a 42-year-old who grew up on Yes, and never heard of Scandinavian metal til I explained it to him just now) just told me that he REALLY wants to hear Ulver now. (And so do I!!!) I didn't have any, so I loaned him my copy of Opeth's new ambient CD instead.

chuck, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:36 (nineteen years ago) link

Try Young Team and crank it. Your mileage may vary, etc.

I must hear this new Opeth. This has nothing to do with the fact I'm a mondo huge Porcupine Tree/No-Man freak, of course.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:37 (nineteen years ago) link

i was just watching my opeth/katatonia milwaukee metal fest video. i wanna hear the opeth too.Ned, did you like the last one? actually, Ned, fuck that, do you listen to Katatonia? they are my favorite rock band. i will try Young Team if i see it for cheap cheap cheap. I just heard Ride for the first time last week. they rule? are they gonna make a comeback?
Chuck, the newer Ulver stuff is total electronic stuff. Yeah, but that Arcturus record, if he's a Yes fan, he would dig that.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:46 (nineteen years ago) link

that prog/symphonic/power metal stuff that is coming out now is insane!!! I get a glimpse of it when i buy Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles every month.It's like Queen, Judas Priest, and Yes all mixed together.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:49 (nineteen years ago) link

Siegbran and John have both mentioned Katatonia with praise, so I was going to look into them at some point. Ride aren't going to come back as such, but Mark Gardener's been doing some solo stuff here in the States playing old Ride songs at shows and allegedly Andy Bell wanted to sit in on some of them, so who knows...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:50 (nineteen years ago) link

I meant Ride rule! not ? I can certainly tell if something rulz or not.I liked that one famous Sigur Ros with the baby cover, and they were good live. they really filled the room well with sound. Plus, i think when i heard that i was just going through one of those cinematic epic rock things-godspeed,jackie-o,neurosis, and they fit in well with that. Did you all know that M.Gira wanted Neurosis to back him up for the farewell Swans Are Dead tour? they were busy. that tour was great anyway,but those guys doing swans songs on their swan song woulda been sweeeeet.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:55 (nineteen years ago) link

Did you all know that M.Gira wanted Neurosis to back him up for the farewell Swans Are Dead tour?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 19:56 (nineteen years ago) link

i need more shoegeezer music. i just bought some old sun dial. they were in the same camp, no? that's the ticket for me this spring.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 20:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Ned, buy Discouraged Ones by Katatonia. it's on Century Media.came out in 98. You will know that they are the coolest metal band cuz Jonas their singer is wearing a Slowdive shirt on the back cover. It's such a beautiful album.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 May 2003 20:06 (nineteen years ago) link

The Slowdive connection actually has pretty well just sold me, thanks! Drop me a line if you'd like more random shoegaze recommendations (or alternately ask myself, Gareth, Spencer, Chris Barrus, Matt Maxwell, Kate, ESOJ and many others to thread...).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 20:42 (nineteen years ago) link

Discouraged Ones by Katatonia !

Recommended buy, on this album the band admitted to a heavy, The Cure influence during the recording of the album. That's The Cure of Poronography.

DJ Martian (djmartian), Thursday, 1 May 2003 21:27 (nineteen years ago) link

Heh heh heh. Dan to thread!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 May 2003 22:20 (nineteen years ago) link

Going back to Isis, I like both Oceanic and Celestial quite a bit. Celestial is heavier but somewhat less diverse. Most of the songs seem to be either loud CHUGGA CHUGGA epic sludge or very quiet, barely there minimal noodling. Not enough electronics either; they're in the mix somewhere but usually not loud enough. Still, the album works well but its not as strong as Oceanic overall. Oceanic seems to have more of a happy medium thing going on with warm gooshy electronics off in the background. I agree with Ned when he said he wished there were more drift and drone, but there's always next album, I suppose.

original bgm, Friday, 2 May 2003 14:52 (nineteen years ago) link

And I don't think much of either Mogwai or Neurosis, for the record.

original bgm, Friday, 2 May 2003 15:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I've gotten Isis "Oceanic" last weekend and have been able to give it three complete listens. It is an interesting record with some good sounds, compositionally speaking it all runs into one blur. The vocals provide an interesting texture, but after three listens, I have not one clue in one what the hell he is saying, which could be a good thing. It worked well as a driving soundtrack.

I can see some of the similarities that some people point out. It does have a similar drum sound and minimalist rhythm action like Shellac, some of the guitar work on the mellow parts isn't dissimilar to Mogwai and I suppose the track with the female vocalist probably sounds something between Tool and Sigur Ros, but all are a stretch.

I want to check out some Neurosis, but I haven't come across a store that has any in stock. The samples I have heard sound interesting.

I've picked up Sleep's "Holy Mountain", but haven't as yet put it in the discman. I'm planning on giving it a try later tonight.

earlnash, Wednesday, 14 May 2003 13:45 (nineteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
Ok, I have been listening to "Oceanic", "Celestial" & Sleep's "Holy Mountain for a few weeks, here is what I though.

Isis is a cool group. They definitely have a "sound". I have no clue what the lead singer is screaming, but at least they didn't make is so annoying by putting it up in the fron of the mix.

I like "Celestial" quite a bit more than "Oceanic" as it has much more drive and the pieces seem more self contained.

The Sleep record hasn't really gotten to me. It sounds like some stoners vibing out Sabbath Vol. 4 with an influence of Vaughn Bode on the lyrics. They must have some weed with alot of red hairs, considering the lyrics...those boys have been inspecing the outer rings of saturn in person.

I still want to check out a Neurosis record.

Earl Nash (earlnash), Friday, 30 May 2003 00:09 (nineteen years ago) link

your safest bet with neurosis is to buy their last album A Sun That Never Sets-tribal,epic,doomy,acoustic,harsh vocals&melodic crooning-and if you like that then work your way back through their catalogue. They get noisier and scarier as you go. a sun that never sets is a beautiful album. Isis just don't reach those same heights. Neurosis have perfected the american version of psych/noise/metal a la Swans and that band's earlier and similar crawl toward sonic heaven/nirvana/etc.
Sleep's best is definitely Jerusalem. Their earlier stuff can be kinda weak. Unlike a lot of people, i'm not that big on High On Fire either. would rather listen to Electric Wizard. or heck, Sabbath.

scott seward, Friday, 30 May 2003 02:21 (nineteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
I finally picked up a couple of Neurosis records mid week along with SGNL05 by Isis and have had the chance to give them a couple of listens.

'Through Silver In Blood' by Neurosis is fxxking intense. It sounds like the soundtrack to a raid by Ghenghis Khan.

'Times of Grace' by Neurosis was an easier listen, but it still is pretty heavy. Albini's engineering is much clearer and refined than 'Through Silver...', which is really raw and harsh.

It is hard to believe that a band that started on the westcoast hardcore scene could evolve to such a dynamic sound. The way Neurosis' music is structured is ways more similar to tribal ambient, some IDM or some sort of minimalist orchestral music than heavy metal/punk. It has accordian on it and not even as a joke.

Neurosis is very dense music, I can tell that these records will give out rewards to multiple listens. 'Through Silver In Blood' is so chilling and painful sounding, I think it will be something that I have to be in the mood to hear.

I can definitely see what Michael Gira heard in Neurosis and why he was interested in getting them to back up Swans, which would have been pretty interesting.

I also really liked Isis' SGNL05 ep. It is much more ambient and trance enducing than "Celestial". Justin Broaderick's remix is quite good.

earlnash, Sunday, 22 June 2003 18:15 (nineteen years ago) link

yah! they were freakin' intense. and i love the overall progression much as i enjoyed Swans similar progression. times of grace is cool but overall i guess i prefer the last album a sun that never sets and the e.p. soverign cuz they are less monolithic and more varied. although i do like times of grace a whole lot.i think they just get better and better. and i love the tribes of neurot stuff and steve von till's solo stuff as well.

scott seward, Sunday, 22 June 2003 18:33 (nineteen years ago) link

Something I noticed after giving "Times of Grace" a listen yesterday is that Neurosis seems to have completely taken the blues element out of their guitar, which is pretty rare for such music.

To an extent, all punk/metal/hardcore etc. still has traces to the blues in the guitar riffs.

I got "The Red Sea" and "Mosquito Control" by Isis mailorder and have given had them on my CD walkman constantly since yesterday afternoon.

I'll keep an eye out for "Sovereign" and "A Sun that Never Sets".

Does any opinion on Botch or Dillenger Escape Plan? They both seem interesting, but I haven't heard them.

earlnash, Wednesday, 25 June 2003 19:15 (nineteen years ago) link

five months pass...

Ive been a fan of Isis for a while, and i can really recommend 'Oceanic' as an album to buy. It does take a few listens, some guy said he couldnt tell the songs apart - you have to listen to the album through a few times.

Its fantastically well played, at points it is heavy, but it has this drifty, swaying, floating feel about it.

Celestial has more of an electronic feel to it, buzzing and fizzing in the background, the album is alive with strange 'space' like sounds, whereas 'Mosquito effect EP' has more of a claustrophobic, 'dirty' feel to it, not quite as polished etc..

Go check out Celestial and Oceanic, both great albums to listen to, i really get lost in that stuff :D

Also while your at it, check out Aaron Turner (Isis) side project, Old Man Gloom. And another great band called 'Cult of Luna'..

Seeya later!
feel free to msn me

Deadsalesman, Thursday, 27 November 2003 23:53 (eighteen years ago) link

Haven't bought Oceanic yet, but Celestial is quite excellent. Also it's really neat-o to see some people appreciating Neurosis.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Friday, 28 November 2003 22:40 (eighteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

Post-metal pioneers ISIS are set to reissue their classic 2002 LP Oceanic this November, fully remastered and featuring new packaging.

The reissue follows remasters of Celestial in 2013 and Panopticon earlier in 2014. “With the Oceanic remaster I feel we’ve saved the best for last,” explained drummer Aaron Harris. “The clarity that’s been revealed in these songs was surprising even to me. I’ve heard these songs probably thousands of times. When I listened to the remastered version of Weight it was like I was back in the studio recording the song. I also noticed a lot of new detail in Jeff’s bass guitar, and energy in the guitars. I know Oceanic is a favorite among fans, and I think this remaster will bring a new appreciation even to those who have heard it many times.”

Oceanic was remastered by Mika Jussila with artwork revisions by Aaron Turner, and hits the stores November 3rd via Ipecac.

ISIS released their final studio album, Wavering Radiant, in 2009.

Oceanic track listing:

1. The Beginning and the End
2. The Other
3. False Light
4. Carry
5. –
6. Maritime
7. Weight
8. From Sinking
9. Hym

StanM, Tuesday, 21 October 2014 19:19 (seven years ago) link

Out on Nov 4th but it's awfully quiet everywhere - is this still coming out?

StanM, Saturday, 1 November 2014 17:34 (seven years ago) link

When they dropped Panoptican earlier this year I didn't know until I saw it in the record store.

afroslack, Monday, 3 November 2014 04:33 (seven years ago) link

I've listened to In the Absence of Truth a couple times lately. Their records are pretty well recorded, but I would be curious to hear the difference in the new masters.

earlnash, Monday, 3 November 2014 05:43 (seven years ago) link

I had an Isis T shirt until very recently

It was always a rather ugly piece , with a big jellyfish adorned across the front.

I finally binned it due to events in the middle east!

I was pretty with Oceanic, when I first heard it. From memory, they were pushing boundaries whilst retain a sense of melody.

Again, from memory, I saw them in Leeds with Keelhaul. Isis were good enough for a middle aged man to buy a T shirt, but I preferred Keelhaul

Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Monday, 3 November 2014 09:27 (seven years ago) link

IMHO, it's the same as the Japanese remaster that came out in 2010 (as was last year's Panopticon) except for Hym, that sounds slightly different.

StanM, Sunday, 9 November 2014 15:54 (seven years ago) link

five years pass...

Celestial turned 20 less than a couple of weeks ago.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 July 2020 15:24 (two years ago) link

wow it's been 20 years since aaron turner pre-invented cultural appropriation

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 27 July 2020 15:30 (two years ago) link

idgi but lol.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 July 2020 15:31 (two years ago) link

Oh nm. lol x2.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 July 2020 15:32 (two years ago) link

The two Old Man Gloom albums from this year are superb.

Oor Neechy, Monday, 27 July 2020 18:34 (two years ago) link

I saw Isis at the very beginning (99/00, opening for Botch) and very end (their final NYC gig, with the Melvins) of their run. I wrote up that final NYC show for the Voice. I used to like Celestial and Oceanic the best out of their catalog, and Panopticon the least; that was the only one of their albums that I found genuinely boring. But these days I like the last two, In the Absence of Truth and Wavering Radiant, the best, because they sound like songs rather than endlessly cycling slow riffs.

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 27 July 2020 18:44 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

I liked reading that.

StanM, Thursday, 15 September 2022 18:41 (two weeks ago) link

nice piece. i went to their release show for oceanic in cambridge at a tiny club, i think 27 opened that show. you could certainly tell they needed to be playing bigger places and were on their way to doing so.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 15 September 2022 18:48 (two weeks ago) link

ta for the reminder that i picked up the 2cd remix set last year.
need to dig it out and give it some time.

mark e, Thursday, 15 September 2022 18:49 (two weeks ago) link

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