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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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Albums by

Top Songs by

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

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