Old Music Tuesdays: ISIS
I’ve been listening to a lot of post-metal as of late, and I had originally wanted to make a post-metal playlist for you. However, time is something that is in short supply these days, and I was unable to do so. (Hell, I’m trying and failing to keep up with my weekly Old Music Tuesday series. Shame on me.) Instead, I’m sharing with you the band that got me into the post-metal genre in the first place: ISIS.
If you’re unfamiliar with the label “post-metal,” it’s relatively new. Some call it shoegazer metal. Basically, it’s heavy music that’s more experimental and usually slower-paced that what people usually think about when they hear the label “metal.” Some bands in the genre (Pelican, Russian Circles) are completely instrumental, while others (ISIS, Mouth of the Architect) employ vocals, usually a combination of clean singing vocals and raspy growls.
ISIS was originally formed in Boston in 1997 (long before the terrorist ISIS that’s now in the news.) They relocated to Los Angeles in the midst of their career. I first heard of ISIS in college, but I completely forgot about them. At the time, I was more interested in punk and thrash metal. In 2006, however, I attended Tool’s tour stop at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. ISIS was the opener, and I immediately fell in love. I really liked the idea of beautiful melodies overlaid with harsh, angry vocals.
ISIS’ earlier stuff is a lot heavier, and they didn’t really find their niche sound until the 2002 album Oceanic. The video I’ve included is a B-Side from their final (and arguably best) album, 2009’s Wavering Radiant. (I’ve included the Amazon link at the beginning of this post.)
ISIS broke up in 2010, but the members have all moved on in their respective music careers. Most notable are Old Man Gloom and Palms. Old Man Gloom is one of lead vocalist Aaron Turner’s many projects. OMG is a heavier, more avant-garde version of ISIS. If you’re just getting into this type of music, start with ISIS and check out Old Man Gloom when you’re up to speed. (Or just go see them on tour, they have two new records out today.)
The rhythm section, along with Chino Moreno (deftones, Crosses, Team Sleep), started the group Palms. If you’re familiar with both ISIS and Chino, Palms sounds exactly like you think it would. (That’s a good thing; they’re a match made in metal heaven.) I wrote about them here.
Enjoy the music and buy the CD by clicking the Amazon link. Thanks for reading!
Carried down yet another ghostly road
Of a life already lived and faded
Passing yet another broken man
His life in burning iron ruins
His void is the thoughtless wake of others
A damaged eye, bleeding black and blurred
As quick as it came
The face is gone
Three more in its place
A war is on
The other rises
shining in his violence
His annihilation is my aim
No blood is spilled
Only smiles from his lips
Twist his arm
Bend them back, tie his legs in knots
Bones should break, instead they bend
To north, to south, to east and west
Crush by my will
Our war has bound him down
In shackles of skin and bone
“Beat him, bind him, fill his veins with the tranquil lead of night.”
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