CD Review: ISIS – Temporal

For long time fans hungry for just one more taste, Temporal might be just the feast you’re looking for.

Review by David Feltman

No, sorry, ISIS isn’t back from the dead. The post-metal pioneers broke up in 2010 after releasing Wavering Radiant and are showing no signs of a comeback. Temporal, thus, is not a new album, but a three-disc collection of unreleased rarities, b-sides and remixes. It’s not exactly the return fans would hope for, but it’s a nice parting gift.

The first disc contains previously released songs in early or alternate forms. We’re treated to an instrumental version of “Ghost Key” and demo versions of “Carry” and “Wills Dissolve.” The tracks are largely culled from the band’s last three albums and lack any production polish. “False Light,” in particular, gets a brutal boost in the absence of a studio spit-shine. The one exception is the completely new release, “Grey Divide.” The track is a 16-minute monster that oscillates between thunderous trudging and delicate atmospherics. This is the biggest gem in the set. Overall, it’s nice to see some of these songs revisited in their infancy, but this is largely fare for super fans. Listening to muddy rough cuts won’t be fun for everybody.

The second disc proves a little more interesting, starting out with covers of Godflesh’s “Streetcleaner” and Black Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom.” The covers compliment the band’s sound nicely and underscore the massive influence these bands had in the formation of ISIS’ sludge and drone sound. The rest of the album consists of tracks previously only available on rare singles and split-EPs. This is the real meat for completionist collectors. The tracks cover a large swath of the band’s existence, providing an anthropological view of its development. The DVD assembles five official music videos and, sadly, wasn’t available for review.

If you’re a metal lover that’s never had the pleasure of hearing ISIS before, you may be better served starting with something like Oceanic. But for long time fans hungry for just one more taste, Temporal might be just the feast you’re looking for.

Temporal drops November 6 and can be ordered hereYou can learn more about ISIS on Facebook.


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