Isis In the Absence of Truth

Thank goodness that Neurosis have stepped aside for the next generation of bands to follow in their bootsteps. Their compliance has allowed not only L.A.’s Isis to thrive in their stead, but also the growing horde of Isis clones in their wake. With every album, Aaron Turner and co. calm down more and more, and In the Absence of Truth indicates a high-water mark for the group’s transition from angry post-hardcore to meaningfully layered art-metal. "Wrists of Kings” and "Dulcinea” follow their trademark formula of quiet build-up of pedal-drenched guitars, tom-tom-heavy tribal percussion, and a combination of sung and bellowed vocals. Much like their nepotistic neighbours Red Sparowes, Isis’ subtleness thrives in "Not in Rivers, But in Drops” and the incredible "Over Root and Thorn,” which dives into the same unearthly pool in which Traindodge and A Perfect Circle wade intermittently. Another album highlight, "1,000 Shards” features clean and processed vocals for a serene ride through Cave In aerospace. After the meditative noise collage "All Out of Time, All into Space,” the growling majesty of "Holy Tears” and "Garden of Light” descend upon unsuspecting ears. Named for a Persian garden of Eden for assassins, "Firdous E Bareen” begins with Course of Empire-like electronic beats that phase into snare and kick drums; the song then blossoms in ethno-ambient magnificence with tonal qualities lifted from Rush’s "The Camera Eye.” Hot off a support tour for their idols Tool, Isis have all post-metal roads open to them with this release. (Ipecac)