The Sawblade EP is just flat out disappointing. The first track offers a very disconcerting sign of things to come, as the title references the "signal" the band seems preoccupied with on Celestial and SGNL>05. However, it is little more than five minutes of hacksaw guitars and chugging bass, which has little to offer fans of those later releases and may, in fact, have scared people off of their later releases.
Following this borefest are two cover songs: "Streetcleaner" by Godflesh and "Hand of Doom" by Black Sabbath. Sometimes metal bands really get it right, even when covering other metal bands. For instance, I adore the At the Gates cover of "Captor of Sin." Alas, this is not the case with either of these covers. "Streetcleaner" is a pretty by the books cover that lacks the tight drumming of the original. The "Hand of Doom" cover features fuzzed-out clean vocals and a wall of guitars, which stand in stark contrast to the relatively minimalistic original. It also bears mentioning that no amount of distortion and effects will give Turner's voice the distinctive sound of Osbourne's.
"House of Low Culture," the closing track, is almost entirely ambient. It sounds a bit like some of the more shoegazey Nadja albums. It's not bad for what it is, but I'd rather pop in a Solar Fields album if I want to listen to something ambient.
Compared to previous offerings, and especially compared to future offerings, this EP is seriously lacking in almost everything that makes Isis worth listening to.
Verdict: Fail [3.5/10]