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Sgnl 05

4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Sgnl>05
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Audio CD, March 20, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the intriguing opening sound textures of SGNL>05, one wouldn't imagine that this gentle stream would evolve into a grand work of nu-metal mastery. Here, Isis weaves a beautiful tapestry of lilted piano set deep into the mix of a windswept field recording, but it doesn't take long for the band to turn the world on its ear. SGNL>05, a five-track EP, is the extension of the earlier Celestial record. Lead vocalist and guitarist Aaron Turner's growl may sound clich in this form, but SGNL>05 quickly proves that it isn't the work of some bored, depressed high school band. Rather, it's an intensely emotional and intelligent piece of theatrical metal music. Tribal influences leak in on "Divine Mother" as the sounds are drawn out in epic proportions. Synthesizers flit about in the background and noise paints the rest of the very stormy picture. The seething guitars of Turner and Mike Gallagher trudge onward in a jarring, direct, and tight fashion. Though tracks like "Beneath Below" and "Constructing Towers" do tend to get a bit repetitive, the album on the whole is quite succinct and impacting. Rarely do industrial rock records take listeners on such a journey as this. Sounds ebb and flow, creating lush textures, only to be met with the most excruciating instrumentation that eventually culminates in a beautiful, multi-layered ambient recording. That final track, a remix of the original "Celestial (Signal Fills the Void)" by Justin K. Broadrick (of Godflesh), serves as a darkly mechanical ending to this fine EP. ~ Ken Taylor, All Music Guide

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Boston's remarkable five-piece band Isis answers the long-standing call for a more metallic musical counterpart to Slint and For Carnation, and succeeds without holding back on the metal or playing too bluntly to finesse the art-rock. The roaring opener, "SGNL>05 (Final Transmission)," is a monumental waltz that flickers between taut Shellac-style riffing and big monolithic Slayer triplets, glued together by the dank, black metal touches of later Darkthrone. "Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)" is like Master of Puppets-era Metallica covering Jesus Lizard, two of the original influences of Slint metal. "Beneath Flow" is a brief, mysterious, clanking exploration that leads into the tempered doomscape of "Constructing Towers," the powerful orchestral centerpiece of SGNL>05. In the midst of turning melancholy, and ambling into a very original investigation of heaviness, Isis are light on emotional frames of reference, but a pretty and poised remix of "Celestial (Signal Fills the Void)" by Justin Broadrick of Godflesh saves the day, organizing the battering drums, acres of guitar, and voices into a repetitive drone-metal version of a hit single. --Ian Christe
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Neurot Recordings
  • ASIN: B000057FTT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,675 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By IcemanJ VINE VOICE on September 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I believe this is the finest EP by this amazingly innovative band. It contains 4 real songs and an intro. It is a great addition or extension of "Celestial" so if you like that, you're sure to enjoy this. And it is 35 minutes long, which is as long as some bands' full albums.

The first track is an intro, and sounds similar to Celestial's intro. Then The first real song goes on starts with a crushing riff and soon enough the vocals appear. The song continutes for a while as a sluggish, crunchy, standard Isis song, then about halfway through it; it breaks down into a clean, ominous melodic riff, something I wasn't expecting when listening for the first time, very nice refreshing change in direction in the song. It is definately one of their most solid songs overall. "Beneath Below" is a shorter, ambient track with a pummeling bass drum and very low frequency keyboard playing, it's actually not anything special. "Constructing Towers" starts off slowly with a quiet chord being strummed, then progresses on, picking up pace towards the end, until it finally deconstructs into swirling frequencies.

"Celestial (Signal Fills the Void)" is a remix of "Celestial (The Tower)," but I didn't even recognize it was a remix. This is probably the most interesting song, with ambient additions of keyboards, distant screams, and industrial noises to the rhythmic metallic chaos. This song `regresses' and slowly becomes more empty towards the end of its 10 minute duration, however adding more ethereal sounding keyboards, and finally breaking down into a single chord. It's definitely one of my top favorite Isis songs.

Be sure to check out their full length albums first, especially "Panopticon," the newest full length, which will be coming out 3 weeks from the time I wrote this. I can't wait to hear what they've done this time.
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Format: Audio CD
Isis is one amazing piece of work. Yes, I will describe Isis as a "instrumental band" since when there are vocals, there are very little. The focus here on the cd "SGNL > 05 is not the vocals, but the instruments themselves. I've heard one comparison of this band to "Neurosis", and I can honestly see the similarities. Isis's songs are dark, slow, chuggy, crunchy, artsy and drawn out. But see thats what makes this CD so beautiful. It forces you to take the notes, the instruments, and hear them as the lyrics. The pounding drums, the beautiful guitar work, low bass lines, all substitute for words. Notes are the words on this CD. This CD is an underground masterpiece, pick it up while its still a secret....
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Isis's "Celestial" rocked with a heavy and awesome power, they continued that CD with this one and it is a very rewarding follow up/continuation. Isis are an ever developing band and better with every CD. Buy thier incredible album "Oceanic" which is thier best album and only that this album is in the shadow of "Oceanic" just slightly it gets its 4 star rating... still this and its prelude "Celestial" are awesome.
If you dont know Neurosis try them as well they are awesome and a large inspiration to Isis.
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Following shortly after 2001's full-length Celestial, SGNL > 05 is a 35-minute long EP companion to a stellar album by a band that's out-of-this world (puns very much intended). Although several of the tracks come off as little more than wandering ambient filler, the inclusion of one of the band's most finely-crafted songs ("The Divine Mother") and a paranoid remix by Godflesh's Justin K. Broadrick, makes this a title worth adding to any Isis fan's collection.

Track one, "Sgnl>05 (Final Transmission)" is an appropriately-tiled continuation of the segues found on Celestial. Not much to give praise to but something to get warmed up to, for the best is yet to come. Track two, the aforementioned "Divine Mother" sees the band showing off their Neurosis roots with droning riffs, semi-tribal drums, Aaron Turner screaming his lungs out. I love this song. I actually bought this EP prior to listening to Celestial, and in my opinion, this song is as good or better than any track on the full-length, with the notable exception of "Glisten". It follows a fairly traditional Isis blueprint (start out soft, build to infinite mass riffage, give it some room to breathe before the trademark CRUSHING crescendo), but nevertheless, it is one of the band's most finely crafted songs, especially from their early, more 'mosh-friendly' era.

It's unfortunate that the three tracks that follow can't live up to the first song's promise, but not content with treading water, the rest of the EP explores ambient textures and hollow musical spaces (without turning into a complete bore, I assure you). "Beneath Below" is reminiscient of the band's tribal jam in an echo chamber, while "Constructing Towers" is like a long, repetitive (acoustic!) funeral dirge.
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While this EP technically serves as a companion to Celestial, I can't help but think about how oddly prophetic it was of them to label SGNL>05 as the "Final Transmission." Indeed, this was the last Isis release that explored the sound they developed since their inception. After this release, the group rebuilt their sound that was demonstrated on their masterpiece release Oceanic; a sound the band's been exploring upon ever since. The irony is while they're previous sound was largely compared to Neurosis and Godflesh, the EP features a remix of "Celestial" by Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh fame) and was released on Neurosis's label Neurot Records.

"Divine Mother" is one of my favorite Isis songs and a large reason why I give the album a high rating. "Constructing Towers" and the "Celestial" remix are the other two solid songs on the EP, with "Sgnl>05" and "Beneath Below" feeling more like interludes or segues.

I'd gear this release more toward Isis fans than your casual music fan, but I think that any metalhead would enjoy "Divine Mother" for how heavy the song is. Feel free to check it out, but you might want to get a copy of Celestial first.
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