Isis Wavering Radiant

Isis Wavering Radiant
Of the scores of bands spawned from Neurosis's unique sonic aesthetic, Isis remain their most pivotal exponent. On their fifth full-length, the band continue to evolve away from the latent nihilism of earlier works (Red Sea, Celestial) but back step to re-embrace the atonement-seeking vibe of 2002's Oceanic. "Hall of the Dead" begins rather ignominiously with recycled riffs from previous works, which certify the band's signature sound. But it's not until the second track, "Ghost Key," that Isis fully explore their Pink Floyd tendencies with echoing chords, stuttering beats and Tool guitarist Adam Jones laying down the appropriate atmospherics. "Hand of the Host" glides majestically through Oceanic waters, while the odd title track is more reminiscent of Turner's noise project House of Low Culture. "Stone to Wake a Serpent" channels early David Gilmour, à la More, while "20 Minutes/40 Years" combines Turner's clean vocals with his most strained growls. Sprawling closing cut "Threshold of Transformation" boasts an ebullient coda, with Cliff Meyer's bubbling keyboard tones smacking of Pink Floyd's Animals. Continuing on the path of "solidly good but not patently great" albums, Isis are allowing their creative competition — Long Distance Calling, Transmission0, and Year of No Light, to name a few — to overtake them. (Ipecac)