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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.   Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)
  4.   Maritime
  5.   Glisten
  6.   Wavering Radiant
  7.   Hall Of The Dead
  8.   The Beginning and the End
  9.   Beneath Below
  10.   Grey Divide
  11.   Stone To Wake A Serpent
  12.   Holy Tears
  13.   All Out of Time, All Into Space
  14.   Grinning Mouths
  15.   Syndic Calls
  16.   From Sinking
  17.   Weight
  18.   SGNL>03
  19.   Poison Eggs
  20.   Swarm Reigns (Down)
  21.   The Minus Times
  22.   Pliable Foe
  23.   Threshhold of Transformation
  24.   Hand Of The Host
  25.   20 Minutes/40 Years
  26.   Dulcinea
  27.   Not in Rivers, But in Drops
  28.   Wills Dissolve
  29.   In Fiction
  30.   Hand of Doom
  31.   Carry
  32.   False Light
  33.   Collapse and Crush
  34.   Deconstructing Towers
  35.   Charmicarmicat Shines to Earth
  36.   Way Through Woven Branches
  37.   Temporal
  38.   Ghost Key
  39.   [Untitled]
  40.   Garden of Light
  41.   Firdous E Bareen
  42.   1000 Shards
  43.   Over Root and Thorn
  44.   Wrists of Kings
  45.   Carry: Like I Will Love Her Forever? (Fuckin Die!!!)
  46.   Altered Course
  47.   Backlit
  48.   Streetcleaner
  49.   Hym
  50.   The Other
  51.   SGNL>02
  52.   SGNL>01
  53.   Hive Destruction
  54.   Life Under the Swatter
  55.   Sgnl>04 (End Transmission)
  56.   Gentle Time
  57.   SGNL>05 (Final Transmission)
  58.   Celestial (The Tower)
  59.   Lines Across Eyes
  60.   Ochre
  61.   Red Sea
  62.   Smiles and Handshakes
  63.   Relocation Swarm
  64.   C.F.T. (New Circuitry and Continued Evolution)
  65.   From: Sinking, To: Drowning by Destructo Swarmbots
  66.   Catalyst
  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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