Monday, August 15, 2011

Isis - The Red Sea EP (1999)

The Red Sea is the second Isis EP, and it would still be another two releases before they released their first full length, Celestial. This EP picks up where Mosquito Control left off, so fans of that will likely be fans of this.

The first track isn't so much a song as it is a warning of the sonic pummeling we are about to receive. It goes on a bit long, but it sounds rather tortured and apocalyptic, a feeling Isis cultivates well on this EP, which sacrifices some of the more innovative songwriting on Mosquito Control for aural intensity. (Shit, did I just make a Glee reference?)

The second and third tracks both open with samples referencing themes in the album. In this respect, Isis betrays its hardcore roots, as it seems every hardcore album released from 88-98 features something culled from a movie or public intellectual. I don't mind the sample in "Red Sea," the third track, but by the time the second song starts I'm ready for some music, not an intro that follows the intro track. But, once the EP gets going, it remains relatively driving and energetic throughout. "Red Sea" features a slower section interspersed with dialogue, much like the final track on Mosquito Control, but it picks up again towards the end. Furthermore, "Lines Across Eyes," the final track, is a standout track, epitomizing the early Isis style.

The rest of the album is pretty damn similar to what precedes it. Isis continues their high energy blend of post-hardcore and sludge, and fans of Mosquito Control (or even Celestial) will find a lot to like here. At the end of the day, though, there is both better hardcore and sludge out there. While this album is fluent in both styles, it doesn't do anything to transcend either of the genres it blends.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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