Isis is a band that have not only fronted but also defined the genre of atmospheric metal over their 12-year career. And their new album Wavering Radiant is going to take the genre into even more territory. This album is an accumulation of all of their accomplishments over their long and innovative lifespan.
Ear pounding riffs are heard throughout the record, as well as trademark whimsical soundscapes that only Isis could pull off are in there plenty. But who could forget the intense vocals that are more predominant in this album than anything I’ve ever heard from Isis. They don’t blend into the background like previous works and lyrical content seems more important to delivering the message of the album. The music is truly unpredictable, sometimes building up to nothing, teasing you. The depth and layers of the sounds are hypnotic, combining great musicianship and an array of instruments with polyrhythmic structure. You can listen to it over and over again finding something new each time, whether it’s a little guitar lick or a sound that makes the whole thing a little bit more epic.
The whole album technically is 7 songs although it is split into 4 sections, with each section being like a journey. Eventually building up to the pinnacle of Threshold of Transformation. For die-hard Isis fans this is far from a disappointment, sticking to the formula they are so greatly known for. However it seems to focus on the softer more ambient side of their music, which certainly makes them more accessible and should bring in a few fans. At this point in Isis’ career the fact that they have stuck to their guns and played the music they want to play without trying to innovate what is already innovative is a great achievement on their part, which should be celebrated by fans and music lovers alike.
If you are into Isis’ earlier music that’s more focused on down tuned instruments and heavier music you may be a bit shocked by this record. However I urge you too try and be open minded with the songs and appreciate the true beauty they’ve achieved with this record. Even the title track Wavering Radiant which sounds like a collection of lightsaber noises has its own artistry. Wavering Radiant is possibly Isis’ best effort yet and if you want to sit down to 54 minutes of musical refinement this is the one for you.