Isis – Temporal

November 6th, 2012
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Time For A Few More

The metal world was stunned in 2010, when post-metal stalwarts Isis announced they were calling it quits after 13 years. However, the breakup has somehow done little to slow the band’s output. They’ve since released several compilations and box sets, including Temporal, a collection of demos, remixes, and unreleased tracks. It may be the last new material fans get to hear, so we should certainly enjoy it while we can.

The first half of the album contains demos from the band’s five studio albums. While they’re certainly interesting to hear, the demos aren’t particularly mind-blowing. In particular, the demo of “Wills Dissolve” from Panopticon is virtually unchanged from the final product, sounding like the band might have if they’d been active in the ’80s, in terms of recording quality. Following these are two covers, of Godflesh’s “Streetcleaner” and Black Sabbath’s “Hand Of Doom”, both faithful (if heavier) renditions of the originals. After a few remixes, including a Melvins/Lustmord version of “Not In Rivers, But In Drops” from In The Absence Of Truth, we get to the real meat, the 3 unreleased tracks.

“Temporal” serves as an intro track, a trippy soundscape leading us into “Way Through Woven Branches,” which features a supremely catchy main riff, as well as the band’s atmospheric, bass-driven interludes and intense, growled vocals. Finally, “The Pliable Foe” layers textural guitars over tribal-esque drums, before transitioning into open, off-kilter bridges and easing to a close. This allows the acoustic version of “20 Minutes/40 Years” to gently finish off the album.

It’s great to hear some new material from one of the greatest practitioners of post-metal out there, but for casual fans of the band, it really doesn’t warrant the purchase of a double disc of demos and covers. Temporal is strictly for the die-hard Isis fans, and the completionists out there. Folks just looking for the new stuff would do well to pick up the 3 new tracks and be done with it. And enjoy them while you can: this may be the official last hurrah from Isis.

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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

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