Monday, August 15, 2011

Isis - Mosquito Control EP (1998)

Isis's first EP, Mosquito Control, is probably not the Isis you know and love (or know and hate). Although it's easy to look back on this EP and see the post-rock influence that defines Isis's later work, it is pushed to the margins. Instead, we are treated to a healthy dose of aggression and unapologetically hardcore vocals. (Though, if I'm being honest, the vocals have more in common with a second wave screamo band like Hot Cross than they do with Bane or Judge.)

The first track starts with a lilting guitar melody, but it does not take long for Isis to unleash. This track is frenetic, and, like the album as a whole, feels much less calculating than later releases. Buzzsaw guitars rip through these four songs, which, while this EP is obviously influenced by hardcore, as a whole this feels more like the bastard child of grindcore and sludge.

The next two tracks maintain the high energy approach of the opener, and the fourth is more of the same with the exception of some spoken word vocals interspersed throughout the track. About a quarter of the way through this track, we get some dissonant arpeggios a la The Assistant, followed by a largely atmospheric interlude before the bass kicks in. This song, "Relocation Swarm," is easily the most dynamic of the songs on this EP and will no doubt appeal to those interested in Isis's aesthetics but who are turned off by the slower sections in later albums.

This EP feels fairly cut and paste despite some of the interesting genre mixing. If you like post-hardcore, sludge, and a bit of grind, this is almost certainly the EP for you, but none of those elements is particularly interesting, though they are all done proficiently.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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