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Although rooted heavy metal and the punk/hardcore aesthetic, Isis' music relies just as heavily on ambience, atmosphere, and tone as it does complexity and aggression. Not so much a band per se as a musical collective, the members of the Boston-based quintet layer their compositions with feedback, power chords, quiet/loud dynamics, and vocals that are sometimes shouted, frequently screamed, and occasionally sung. The band was formed by Hydra Head Records owner Aaron Turner, who was hoping to combine the minimalism of Earth and the Melvins with the experimentalism of Godflesh, backed by the depth and power of the band's most obvious musical counterpart, Neurosis. It was the union of Turner with bassist Jeff Caxide and powerhouse drummer Aaron Harris that formed the core of the Isis project in 1997. The band recorded a demo that year with guitarist Randy Larson, garnering the attention of Escape Artist Records. With noisemaker Chris Mereshuk on keyboards/samples and minus Larson, the band recorded the The Mosquito Control EP at God City Studios in 1998, establishing Isis as a band with artistic vision and conceptual foresight. Former Cast Iron Hike guitarist Mike Gallagher joined the lineup in time for a tour with Converge and Cavity, just as Mereshuk exited and was replaced by Agorophobic Nosebleed's Jay Randall. In 1999, Isis released an EP titled The Red Sea through Second Nature on both 8" vinyl and CD. Randall exited the group shortly thereafter and was replaced by Cliff Meyer, and Isis subsequently toured with Cave In that summer before supporting Neurosis -- who had become admirers of the group -- that winter. In 2000, Isis produced their masterwork, the Celestial opus, which built upon the promise of the EP releases while expanding the band's scope to include more warmth and melody than its decidedly brutal predecessors. The band toured relentlessly in its support with the likes of the Dillinger Escape Plan, Candiria, and Burn It Down, releasing a follow-up of material from the Celestial sessions through Neurosis' own Neurot Recordings in 2001. Dubbed SGNL>05, the EP expanded the conceptual and musical threads of Celestial, complete with a remix by one of the band's heroes, Godflesh's electronic wizard Justin Broadrick. Oceanic became the band's breakthrough record, receiving positive reviews upon its release in 2002. The follow-up effort, Panopticon, appeared two years later, while the two-CD remix collection Oceanic: Remixes/Reinterpretations landed in 2005. One year later, the band collaborated with the Scottish pop band Aereogramme for the 14th volume of the Konkurrent label's In the Fishtank series. Isis then released their next full-length album, In the Absence of Truth, before touring alongside Tool, whose guitarist Adam Jones opted to join Isis in the studio upon the tour's completion. Jones lent his instrumental prowess to two songs, both of which appeared on the band's 2009 album Wavering Radiant. In 2010, Isis announced their decision to break up, and later that year they played their last show in Montreal. Though the band was done, a split EP with the Melvins featuring unrleased tracks from the Wavering Radiant sessions would appear later that year. Isis' final release, the sprawling rarites and demos compilation Temporal, appeared late in 2012. ~ Ryan J. Downey
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Top Songs by

  1.   Song
  2.   So Did We
  3.   SGNL>01
  4.   Wavering Radiant
  5.   Charmicarmicat Shines to Earth
  6.   Way Through Woven Branches
  7.   1000 Shards
  8.   Red Sea
  9.   Pliable Foe
  10.   [Untitled]
  11.   Hall Of The Dead
  12.   Ghost Key
  13.   20 Minutes/40 Years
  14.   Garden of Light
  15.   Wrists of Kings
  16.   Hand of Doom
  17.   Hym
  18.   Weight
  19.   Carry
  20.   False Light
  21.   Gentle Time
  22.   SGNL>05 (Final Transmission)
  23.   Deconstructing Towers
  24.   Beneath Below
  25.   Catalyst
  26.   Backlit
  27.   Smiles and Handshakes
  28.   Grey Divide
  29.   Firdous E Bareen
  30.   Holy Tears
  31.   All Out of Time, All Into Space
  32.   Over Root and Thorn
  33.   Dulcinea
  34.   Not in Rivers, But in Drops
  35.   From: Sinking, To: Drowning by Destructo Swarmbots
  36.   Grinning Mouths
  37.   Altered Course
  38.   Wills Dissolve
  39.   In Fiction
  40.   From Sinking
  41.   Maritime
  42.   The Other
  43.   The Beginning and the End
  44.   SGNL>02
  45.   Relocation Swarm
  46.   Sgnl>04 (End Transmission)
  47.   Celestial (The Tower)
  48.   Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)
  49.   Ochre
  50.   C.F.T. (New Circuitry and Continued Evolution)
  51.   The Minus Times
  52.   Temporal
  53.   Stone To Wake A Serpent
  54.   Syndic Calls
  55.   Streetcleaner
  56.   Poison Eggs
  57.   Collapse and Crush
  58.   Lines Across Eyes
  59.   Glisten
  60.   Threshhold of Transformation
  61.   Swarm Reigns (Down)
  62.   Carry: Like I Will Love Her Forever? (Fuckin Die!!!) featuring DJ Speedranch
  63.   Life Under the Swatter
  64.   Hive Destruction
  65.   Hand Of The Host
  66.   SGNL>03
  67.   Forbidden Treasures
  68.   [Untitled Track]
  69.   -
  70.   [CD-Rom Track]
  71.   Not In Rivers, But In Drops (Live Washington DC 2006)
  72.   Improv 1 (Endless Nameless)
  73.   No Name

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