Well this thread is certainly WAY overdue. I don't know why I procrastinated this so long, but I guess it really doesn't matter in the end. As long as this here album review gets writ, that's the important part.
So, where to start about this highly anticipated album? Well at first, my expectations were rather guarded because I heard that this one was going to be more melodic (or was the word Aaron Turner used in the interview I read, "orchestral"?). As it turns out, this may be true - but only in parts. In other parts, it may be the most crushing album yet by this phenomenal band.
The end result of these two polar extremes being exhibited on the same album is that I would say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Isis has shown more dynamic range on this album than any other. And that's saying a lot, because frankly that is probably what these guys are known for the most.
So in other words, Isis has basically outdone themselves yet again.
I also like that the production on this album is notably less clean than their previous album "In the Absence of Truth" (which I also liked a great deal). This really works for Isis, and I think Aaron Turner knew it would. He was quoted as saying that this album is "closest to what this band actually sounds like", or something to that effect, and I think I would have to agree. Don't misunderstand - this album is extremely well-produced. It's just that is isn't super-slick clean like the previous album was. Isis sounds best with just a little bit of "grit" left in (at least IMHO).
So anyway - to wrap this up - I think this may be Isis's finest work to date. I really enjoy the sonic range on display here, and the plentiful crushing moments are linked together quite masterfully by many smooth passages as well. Isis truly knows how to craft not only epic songs, but epic albums - and they are showing themselves to be a very mature and stalwart band within a genre which has much fine competition within it. Another awesome album by a truly phenomenal band.
Threshold of Transformation
Hall of the Dead