Isis Celestial

Celestial, much like Cave In's Jupiter, is as enigmatic as the Sphinx's riddle, as veiled as the Nile's source and as shifting as the Egyptian sands. Furthermore, Isis changes directions many times in the context of one song, leaving the listener in unfamiliar yet comfortable environs. The group also sees fit to include odd, brief noise pieces here and there (for example, "Sgnl>01" sounds like Soundgarden's spoons guy in a vacuum chamber with one piano key and dripping water) between songs to provide depth soundings for these murky waters. Remember how Mindrot could go from 60 to zero in five seconds without any loss of heaviness? Check out the transition of "Celestial (The Tower)" as it burrows into a Meddle/Animals-era Floyd after dropping into mechanical Godflesh reps. "Glisten" sports an unquestionable Godflesh throb before downshifting to a languid Mindrot clip. "Swarm Reigns (Down)" grooves like an upbeat Burning Witch with a dollop of Neurosis on top, while "Deconstructing Towers" reverses those polarities. After the pummelling "Collapse And Crush," the acoustic "C.F.T. (New Circuitry And Continued Evolution)" furthers the Floyd mood by providing the logical next step after The Final Cut, if Waters hadn't left. And suffice it to say that "Gentle Time" is a misnomer for the most abrasive tune on the record. Those giant stone statues on the cover of the new Damaged album would've been more appropriate here, though the lavish artwork could only swathe the most musically fervent at the Hydra Head compound. If you can't steal a copy of the super-limited Isis twelve-inch with their Sabbath and Godflesh covers, then get this. (Escape Artist)