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Wavering Radiant

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Wavering Radiant
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Audio CD, May 5, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2009 release from the Alternative Hard rockers, their fifth album overall. Grandiose without being over-indulgent, epic without compromising focus, Isis have resurrected the art of prioritizing the album over the individual songs. Wavering Radiant, though divided into seven pieces, is essentially one composition. With producer Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Melvins, Enslaved) behind the boards, the recording displays a sonic range and tonal depth in perfect step with the broad range of the band's capabilities. This is an audiophile's dream: rich in headphone candy, goose-bump inducing in its crescendos, majestic in its beauty, humbling in its devastating power. If radio still exists in 30 years, Wavering Radiant is the kind of record that obsessive DJs will play in its entirety during their graveyard shifts. But the huddled mass of Isis enthusiasts are already celebrating its arrival.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ipecac Recordings
  • ASIN: B001YXXSJM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Isis' Wavering Radiant is a tremendous accomplishment.

This album sees the band growing into a much tighter musical force, with greater focus on composition. The songs boast a feel of utter thoroughness, unlike the ones on their previous album, In the Absence of Truth. This is the result of all band members having written the album together rather than flying from the east coast to the west for sessions where every member tried to piece together their own riffs and melodies.

Although comprised by seven tracks, Wavering Radiant feels like a single composition broken down into parts for easier navigation purposes. There are nebuluos musical ideas linking the tracks together to achieve a cohesive vibe. Each cut is imbued with common musical threads, macro-compositional tonal centres, that strangely evoke previous (and following, as you go through the disc several times) numbers. What's more, sometimes the band employs the technique in the same track. The exchange of a single-riff theme between guitars, bass, drums, and even vocals on "Hand of the Host" is a prime example of this feat. Then, two tracks later, an awkwardly familiar theme appears and subtly glues them together.

Aaron Turner continues his classic harsh, raspy yells but also mixes it up with clean passages that are spread across the album. He is more courageous this time around, as he swiftly moves from his shattering growls to strangely addictive clean harmonies. In a way, this reminds me of Mikael Akerfeldt circa My Arms, Your Hearse. Though his clean singing still lacked greatly, it matched the flow of the record perfectly. The same case applies for Aaron Turner.
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Format: Audio CD
Ever since Isis moved to the West Coast, they started going toward a more mystic destination that's opposite of the darker sound they had when they were in Boston. Wavering Radiant continues the path they were on with In the Absence of Truth, only this time going along a path that needed a bit more clearing.

True to the direction the band was going in on ITAOT, the album is generally more up-tempo then their previous works and Aaron Turner may have more vocals on this record than any of the previous releases. However, the overall tone of the album is darker than their previous release, and that probably stems from their decision to part ways with long-time producer Matt Bayles and instead brought in "Evil" Joe Baressi to help the band restore some of grit in production.

As far as the songs go, it's mostly exactly what you'd expect from Isis: heavy songs that explore the space they're in and don't care to make time constraints. The difference I would think is that the band is starting to put as much emphasis on leads as they do on rhythm. The guitar work seems to be a bit more featured in this album than in albums past, the keyboards are definitely higher in the mix, and Aaron Turner is singing more, implementing both growls along to go with the "singing-as-an-instrument" motif that he's been going for since ITAOT (don't get that confused for the generic "good cop/bad cop" thing 41,793 other metal bands have going on.)

Overall, I really enjoy the album because the band's shown a considerable amount of growth since their inception and only continue to evolve. The album is great and the core songs of the album are fantastic.
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By Øystein Bye on December 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is not background music. This is music to listen to. If you invest som time, you will be rewarded. A combination of hardcore and prog rock. Isis plows new ground and take you on a journey you have never been on before. Simply fantastic.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have a similar experience with each Isis release. I listen to it a few times without it truly hitting me so I put it aside for awhile. I come back to it and suddenly something clicks and I once again understand how great this band is. Maybe it is the frame of mind I am in at the time or the repeated listenings open it up? Suddenly, the dream like trance parts lift me up to another mental realm before the nightmare like heaviness brings me crashing down to reality.

It's amazing how the band rides the grooves created by drummer Aaron Harris. He is one of the few drummers who seems to squeeze emotion out of the drums. He sets the tone for another great Isis album.....
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I would actually rate Wavering Radiant at 4.5 stars if I could. I have been an Isis fan since Panopticon and have since acquired all of their other albums for my collection. So of course the day that Radiant became available I ordered it up from Amazon and marked off the days on the calendar until it arrived.

Isis makes some of the heaviest and moodiest music I've ever heard. Making frequent use of odd time signatures, keeping the lyrics to a minimum, and adding layer upon layer as each tune evolves, an Isis album is more something that you experience rather than listen. I had the perfect scenario when the CD finally arrived: a long 2-hour drive at night on an empty highway. I set the cruise control, loaded the disc into the changer, and cranked the volume.

The first thing I noticed is that this album builds on the blueprint laid out by In The Absence Of Truth. The songs tend toward the longer side, averaging around 8-10 minutes each, which gives the band plenty of space to evolve their melodies and explore various shades of light and dark within each song. The performances by all of the band members here are fantastic, but I was especially impressed with the work of drummer Aaron Harris. His newfound appreciation for nuance and subtlety behind the kit wonderfully complements 'Ghost Key' but he still has the power to drive heavy riffers like 'Stone To Wake A Serpent.'

I've seen some people compare Isis to Tool (one of my favorite bands) but I'm not sure that is a fair comparison. They are two different animals that happen to walk on some of the same terrain some of the time.
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