It’s been more than a year since the post-metal cult status icons Isis called it quits after a 13-year-ride. They were known for putting on killer shows featuring enduring sets of ambient droning and electronic sound-scapes, filled with intense bass lines and powerful drum lines and guitar riffs. Some cuts featured gut-wrenching vocals, but much of their material was based on repetitive instrumentation that built up and evolved into a climactic event. The music seems simple to the average listener, but the details are very intricate to those who listen with an attentive ear.
In honor of the one-year anniversary of the band’s demise, Isis has re-released their live five-album set. The five albums were recorded from 2003 to 2006 at different shows in various locations.
The first live album was recorded at the Fillmore in San Francisco on September 23rd, 2003. Like most of these live albums, the audio is taken from a bootleg recording, giving the listener a much lower quality experience than a soundboard recording. The San Francisco recording is noticeably heavy on the low bass lines and bass drums and also features quite a bit of chatter from the audience during more quiet sections of the set. For being a bootleg, the quality is high enough for the listener to enjoy the material being played, especially songs like “Weight.” Unfortunately, the beginning track, “From Sinking,” was omitted from the release due to recording problems.
The second album was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden on March 19th, 2003 through a Swedish radio station, so the quality is much better than the first live album. Many more tracks on this album feature the vocals of Aaron Turner. Unlike the first album, “From Sinking” was recorded and opens the album as the first cut. “Carry” and “Weight” are also featured on this album, along with songs like “Glisten” and “Celestial”.
The third album in this five album set was recorded in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Launchpad on December 7th, 2004. This was also a bootleg recording, but the audio quality isn’t too bad. This particular album features many tracks that appear on their 2004 album Panopticon including “In Fiction,” a 10-plus-minute head-bobbing jam featuring a killer beat.
The fourth album was recorded during several tour stops from 2001 to 2005. Many of the cuts on this album feature much harder material with Turner’s harsh vocals. The album features older cuts like “Gentle Time,” but also features a cover of Nirvana‘s “Endless Nameless” as well.
The fifth and final album features the best recording of any of the Isis live albums, taken directly off the soundboard. It was recorded at Koko’s in London on July 23rd, 2003. This performance features the 2002 album Oceanic played in entirety. Out of all of the live albums in this series of five, I would suggest picking this one up if you had to get one due to the quality of the recording. This album gives you the best experience of hearing Isis live without being there.
For anyone who missed out on picking up this live set when it was originally released, this is another chance to get a hold of a set from band that many feel quit before they should have. Needless to say, Isis fans need this set as a pivotal piece of the band’s 13-year history.
(self-released, no address provided)