Isis In the Absence of Truth

While certainly a consistent group that are unlikely to release anything sub-par, ever, the bar Los Angeles post-metal progenies Isis set for themselves with 2002’s monumental Oceanic has forever cast a shadow upon their future output. While not as static and comparatively timid as Panopticon, In the Absence of Truth is lacking a certain character that all of their prior efforts have carried in spades. That being said, a great amount of effort has clearly been put into diversifying and expanding their trademark sonic collage of destructive doom riffs and gently ebbing atmospherics. Drummer Bryant Clifford Meyer is busier than ever, laying down propulsive fills that display a clear Tool influence and almost tribal delivery. In fact, the only major fault here lies in the group’s recurring homage to Tool — Isis are a band that have fashioned a sound entirely their own, essentially spawned an entire genre, and are now borrowing from an above average mainstream rock group with an excellent drummer. Otherwise, the material offered hear is compelling, boasting their cleanest production values yet, and a good deal of range and variation within the song structures that livens up the proceedings a bit. Clean vocals (if you can call them that) generally dominate, although Aaron Turner’s formidable bark seems to have become a bit more venomous in contrast, on the increasingly rare occasions that it appears. Isis are still the undisputed leaders of the pack, leaving Pelican and similar acts in the dust as far as musicianship and overall professionalism is concerned. In the Absence of Truth stands as what will hopefully be an intriguing stepping stone to something greater. (Ipecac)