Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Isis - Wavering Radiant (2009)

Wavering Radiant is, sadly, the last full-length Isis released before calling it quits. I say "sadly" not because this album shows a glimpse of the brilliance that was yet to come, but because they overstayed their welcome and went out on a sour note. This album is half-baked and feels like a rehash of the better ideas they've had on previous albums, but, like a funhouse mirror, everything is distorted out of shape.

The first track, "Hall of the Dead," feels like a toothless version of the Celestial opener. There is a strange section partway through this song, and, while synths were present on previous albums, they dominate large portions of Wavering Radiant.

Listening to this album with knowledge of their previous output, it's easy to find recycled riffs and moments at which the band feels like one of the many Isis clones they have spawned. "Hnd of the Host," the third track, sounds similar to "Not in Rivers, But in Drops" from In the Absence of Truth, and "Stone to Wake a Serpent" also features riffs from previous albums (which is really a shame, because it is one of their better song titles).

It's not all bad, though. I still prefer this album to Celestial, and "20 Minutes/40 Years" is a damn good song and feels like classic Isis. There are moments of brilliance scattered throughout, but they never quite take over and elevate the album as a whole.

I have no qualms with putting this album on in the background and going about my day, but when I am looking for a more engaging experience I will quickly find myself switching it to something else.

Verdict: Indifference [6.5/10]

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