We’re now over two years since Isis has broken up, and they’ve released this compilation which serves as a nice coda to their catalog. After releasing two disappointing albums (to me at least) they finished up on a very high note with 2009′s Wavering Radiant. This three-disc set compiles some odds and ends they had. It’s probably something that’s for the more diehard fans, but I really enjoy it and would recommend it.
The first disc is comprised of demos. Most of them aren’t all that different from the album versions. A little rougher but pretty good sound quality. Some have low or no vocals at all. The final track is the 17 minute Grey Divide. I’m not sure where it’s from but the liner notes say recorded in 2001 so maybe it’s from the Oceanic sessions or extended jam somewhere. Either way, ideas from it were used on Oceanic.
The second disc has some really cool gems on it. First off are the Godflesh and Black Sabbath covers from the ultra-rare Sawblade EP from 1999. They are also the only pre-Oceanic tracks in the set. There are also a couple remixes and a short new song (the title track). To me the album’s highlights are Way Through Woven Branches and Pliable Foe, the two tracks from their split EP with the Melvins, both Wavering Radiant outtakes.
The third disc is a DVD of their official videos. Not really my thing, but they look cool if you’re into videos. Again, this collection is not essential, but really cool for the longtime fans.
Throughout the years, Isis has released a series of live albums on the popular CD and LP formats. They have been self-released and very limited in quantity. If you happened to miss any of those, don’t worry. They plan on releasing the set digitally this summer via their website.
The first volume was released this past week. It was recorded in 2003 and is composed of four tracks from their Oceanic album which is where they peaked. I know a lot of you will argue Panopticon, but I listened to both albums, and there’s no fucking way.
Anyway, as with most rock bands I prefer a live sound over studio. It has a more genuine and abrasive sound that I feel embraces the aesthetic of metal. Except for maybe High on Fire. Their records can rock just as hard as anything.
Isis has joined them for a week, and it turns out that these are some of the last shows that they will ever play. Although originally billed as Melvins/Isis, Isis has been headlining shows. There’s some speculation on the switch is that it turned out to be Isis’ final tour. However, it probably had more to do with the fact that The Melvins shared drums and equipment with openers, Totimoshi. Either way, they finally made it to my neck of the woods, and it was a pretty excellent show.
I really enjoyed Totimoshi. I wasn’t very familiar with them heading into the show, but they put on a great performance. They do this Spaghetti Western Mexican doom metal thing, and it’s pretty cool.
Shortly after, The Melvins took to the stage. Buzzo had a new mumu with these Mackie horses on it. Jared had a sparkly cape and other sparkly stuff that looked like he should be playing in The River Bottom Nightmare Band. Dale and Cody were wearing these Mad Max looking things.
When the walked out, Dueling Banjos was playing over the PA. When they picked up their instruments, they jammed along with it for a little bit and went into Sacrifice. The setlist was pretty split down the middle between the stuff they wrote as a four-piece and the Pre-Big Biz stuff.
Early on, they played Black Stooges, which I was pretty happy about. I don’t think I’ve seen this incarnation of the band play anything off of HAT. Other highlights included Civilized Worm, Billy Fish, Water Glass, and Evil New War God. The closed out with Hung Bunny and Roman Bird Dog which was pretty phenomenal. Here’s the full setlist:
The Kicking Machine
Lovely Butterfly intro
The Water Glass
Evil New War God
The Talking Horse
Roman Bird Dog
After that, Isis played. I probably would have been a bit more excited if they played before The Melvins, but they were still good. They opened with my favorite song of theirs’, From Sinking, which is cool. Then they played about an hour’s worth of stuff off of their last two albums (with one pretty old tune thrown in there), and closed with The Beginning and the End. Here’s their setlist:
Not in Rivers, But in Drops
Threshold of Transformation
Collapse and Crush
So Did We
The Beginning and the End