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68 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 17, 2002
$17.24 $3.07
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 17, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ipecac Recordings
  • ASIN: B00006IQHQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,837 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on February 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This album is simply brilliant. Isis creates a truly "oceanic" sound that would cause Devin Townsend to rethink the sound of the metal sea. I'm lacking much reference for describing Isis, since this is the only album by them I have heard. The music is technically simple, but texturally and compositionally sublime. It has a big, full, beautiful sound rivaled by few, which is especially remarkable since the lineup is basically just a straight-up metal band. All elements are used for macro-effect rather than micro-effect. The primitive beauty of the riffs, the rigid, closely-knit rhythmic integration, and the huge heaviness (but heaviness of the ancient weight of water, not military bombardment) give the music a great mystical power. The hardcore screams appear to be an odd choice with music so atmospheric, but within seconds you realize how well it fits. Some parts can be extremely minimal in their compositional core, and yet with the band's incredible sound the repetition is not dull or hypnotic, but deeply invigorating. The band's grasp of dynamics is Tool-like but resulting in a far different, primordial effect. It sounds like a metal band tapping into the very _ancientness_ of the ocean. I can't really describe any individual pieces because I don't know the song titles that well because when I listen to it I just think of it as a seamless epic, and I don't consciously think about where the songs are ending and beginning. But it is a holistic piece as a work of music and a sonic experience. Most incredible is the album's atmosphere. It is raw, powerful, and enthralling like the siren's song. Definitely recommended to fans of "ocean metal" like _Ocean Machine_. In fact, this is even better.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By LeftManOut on January 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
If asked to describe the sheer brilliance that is Isis' "Oceanic", I would undoubtably respond with those two phrases. Everything about "Oceanic", from its emotional, multilayered instrumentations, to its beautifully abstract lyrics, to its ambient, highly dynamic atmosphere, is absolutely astonishing. It's not often that I can sit down and actually listen to a 63 minute album the entire way through, but with Isis' "Oceanic", it's far too easy. Every song plays off the previous to create a broad listening experience, and in the end strikingly seems to come together as one giant piece. While Isis is commonly associated with the hardcore and metal crowds (after all their vocalist Aaron Turner is the owner of hardcore heavyweight Hydrahead Records, which is responsible for such acts as Cave In and Botch among others), there is very little about this band that fits with the traditional hardcore or metal sound, and that in turn is one of the greatest strengths of Isis. If experimental, atmospheric and well thought out rock, with hints of metal and other genres, is something which you like, then "Oceanic" is an album you must own.

While every album Isis has released has been genius in its own way, and each has brought something unique and different to the table, "Oceanic" still remains my favorite piece of material from the band. While the previous "Celestial" has a much more metal feel with experimental temptations layered in (ala Godflesh), and the following record "Panopticon" would have a much broader atmospheric nature, "Oceanic" combines the best of both worlds. The band is still heavy in the needed places, but in others the instrumental sections are astounding. The loud soft dynamic hasn't been played up this well since Fugazi.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "notmikenyu" on September 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album instantly wins the distinction of being in the top 1% of my collection. It's a classic. There are nine songs, all but two of which are between seven and eleven minutes long. The songs build and fall, ebb and flow, much like, well, an ocean (and with the nautical titles, I think we have a theme on our hands...). For those that didn't know them before, ISIS was an extremely heavy band, somewhat similar to Godflesh and Neurosis, and now comparisons to Godspeed You Black Emperor wouldn't be too far off. ISIS' heavy edge has been somewhat tempered on Oceanic, but it's all for the best. They've finally come into a territory that belongs solely to them.
It's unique and beautiful. Though this is heavy music, it transcends any categorization of "metal" or "hardcore." There is melody soaking through this album, and it's not trite and repeated like standard pop melody; rather, it is unique and fascinating. This record achieves the ideal of being beautiful and heavy at the same time, and this isn't just hyperbole. The songs and album are never boring or repetetive despite their lengths; they rise from quiet and atmospheric introductions and build to torrential pounding rhythms, and subside again as they came. The guest vocals of Maria and Ayl (from another great Boston band, 27) are a stellar inclusion, and really round out some already amazing songs. The album is an odyssey; I can't stop listening to it.
Even if I weren't a fan before this, this album would instantly convert me. I give it a 13 out of 15 on the Gnosis2000 scale: a classic, one of the best albums ever made. I recommend it to everyone, whether a heavy music fan or not. Give it a chance, and you'll love it.
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