Gig Reviews

Isis, Manning Bar – 23/02/10

Isis play an intense thinking persons avant-garde metal and are certainly not the type of band you’d expect out of LA. Clearly much more comfortable in the Manning Bar than the scorching Soundwave mid afternoon heat the Sunday before, Isis blazed though a set of their unique metal, making it one of the clear highlights of the Soundwave sideshows.

The brilliant new Isis album Wavering Radiant featured heavily in tonight’s set and rightly so. Isis opened with the juggernaut ‘Hall Of The Dead’, leading straight into the equally ambient and dense ‘Hand of The Host’. ‘In The Absence Of Truth’ got a look, with the raw aggression of ‘Holy Tea’ blowing our collective heads off. ‘Wills Dissolve’ from Panopticon was particularly exquisite; its delicate layers of sound were masterfully executed. ’20 Minutes/40 Years’ and ‘Ghost Key’ were typically amazing but the main set’s closer ‘Threshold Of Transformation’ was overwhelming, the incredible discipline involved in pulling off such song was a bloody honour to witness.

Each member was a picture of concentration and intensity – this was reflected in the crowd, from the head-bangers to those nodding their head in silent approval. Despite the potential for Isis to come off as arty wankers, they are not at all self indulgent and simply allow the music to speak for itself. Nothing was wasted; there were no silly solos or baiting the crowd – who needs that shit? It was a very professional performance, and it was deeply appreciated by everyone at the gig.

Isis returned to the stage for an astounding encore – the dynamic ‘Carry’ from their breakthrough album Oceanic, followed by the jaw-dropping ‘Celestial’. Wow, what a powerful ninety minute set of mind altering music. Drone/sludge/ambient/thrash/avant-garde/art metal doesn’t get any better than this. Isis definitely have a niche appeal, and it’s hugely rewarded for those willing to take the plunge with them.

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