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Rating:
9.1
Isis - Panopticon
19 October 2004


01. So Did We
02. Backlit
03. In Fiction
04. Wills Dissolve
05. Syndic Calls
06. Altered Course
07. Grinning Mouths


Ever get the feeling you're being watched?..."FEAR OF THE DARK! FEAR OF THE DAAAARK!"...no, not exactly. Not like being watched by Sully and Mike Watshisname from your bedroom closet. No. I'm talking about being watched. Government surveillance, chemtrail conspiracy theory...you know, Unquestionable Presence type stuff. That's what Panopticon is about. I harken to visions of nuclear warheads soaring up into the sky from undisclosed sites on the rural countryside (thanks Terminator 3).

There are no blast beats, no rawking guitar solos, and no lyrics involving death or destruction. But this album is very much a metal release, both vocally and sonically.

The music contains interludes of a "soaring" variety, incorporating an immaculate use of reverberation. These "soaring" passages are dense, and continuously build toward walls of distortion. Slowly and deliberately, each song builds a wall to the heavens. The vocalist, Aaron Turner, bluntly interjects with cries to open ceilings. "Is it there, are they there?" Like painting graffiti onto prison walls, with Panopticon, Isis magnificently create a beautiful walk on the beach, and coincidentally (or not) make it unsettling.

And if you're not looking for the album experience, I recommend "So Did We", "Backlit", "In Fiction", and the closer "Grinning Mouths". Especially for those simply looking for that metal fix, "Grinning Mouths" includes a tremendously dense and powerful outro that will ultimately give you goose-bumps before silencing.

I would really recommend the full album though. It's not terribly long at an hour, and it's a standard of the genre. This is watcha call quality atmospheric sludge righ' hurr.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Isis
Album: Panopticon


 


written by Nosurper | 13.12.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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The Galactican - 13.12.2011 at 17:54  
I dig the style of this review a lot. Very nicely done, sir.
Nosurper - 13.12.2011 at 20:31  
Thank you very much, I enjoyed doing it
musclassia - 13.12.2011 at 22:17  
Nice review, and I agree an awesome album. Can't say I'm an expert on the post-metal/atmospheric sludge world, but I have heard some of the big names like Neurosis and Cult Of Luna, and nothing I've heard has reached near the level of epic-ness that Isis can. Syndic Calls came on shuffle the other day, the build-up in it is just overwhelmingly heavy, I just couldn't contain myself.
tea[m]ster - 14.12.2011 at 03:53  
""Grinning Mouths" includes a tremendously dense and powerful outro that will ultimately give you goose-bumps before silencing."

this has actually brought me to tears...
SyndicCalls404 - 16.12.2011 at 04:33  
MAAAAAAASTERPIEEEEEEEECE...my name should say it all!

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