"Oceanic" (Ipecac Records; 2002)

Reviewed by J. Kennedy

A masterful wave of sound. This is how the sound of Isis has often been characterized. Closely linked as disciples of their West Coast brethren, Neurosis, Isis had to create something special to live up to their previous work, the long-winded "Celestial." "Oceanic" is a very fitting title for this nine track album. The music doesn't as much hit you as wash over you. Opener "The Beginning And The End" is my favorite Isis song. Seeing it live would certainly be awesome. As a matter of fact, having heard several bootleg performances of the track, I can confirm it is indeed awesome. Using drifting, almost stoner like guitar lines and inventive drumming, Isis work up a storm.

Listen to this album on your personal CD player, Creative Zen or iPod and tell me you were not taken aback at the sheer musicianship on hand here. Sure, the vocals can be hard to come to grips with. Aaron Turner certainly has a fierce growl. But don't let his harsh vocals deter you from lying back and letting the music flow over you. Turner is only a small element in making this band special. It may sound strange, but the lead vocals act like an instrument here, preparing you for the next hazy passage of drifting guitar drawls and weird, scat-like drumming.

I would recommend "Oceanic" above all other Isis albums as a starting point for newcomers. Not accessible really, but nonetheless impressive. The jammy, free-flowing form of the music allows for much wonder as to where it will take you next.

Find out more about Isis at

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Apr 2024 12:16:14 -0500 .