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- Celestial by Isis
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8/10 Jon Customer review, 15th May 2014
I read an interview piece about Buzz Osbourne of The Melvins recently where he lists bands that "had their chance and blew it!". Isis features high on the list, not because they deserve to be chastised for sucking, but because they were so damn good it was completely illogical for them to end the band in 2010 when they were still releasing great music. This was apparently not a self-destruction situation where everyone wanted to kill each other, but a "we did everything we wanted to do" line. Whatever. Anyway.... Isis is one of my favourite bands and Celestial was their debut full length album (2000). I discovered them by seeing the band on the Oceanic tour in 2002 so, I have to say, that album overshadowed the debut at the time and I never paid it that much attention. Fast forward 12 years and I thought it was time to get Celestial on vinyl and really get to know it...since Isis is dead and won't be releasing new music, what choice do I have? Celestial is a great record but the band's style had not quite yet found its flow as it did on Oceanic which followed. Some purists probably prefer the more blunt approach of Celestial but to me it's not quite there yet, although the album opener, Celestial (The Tower), once the music kicks in and clobbers you, is fantastic and every bit as good as anything they ever did. Celestial also has quiet moments which are what made Isis great, i.e. the cleverly interwoven guitar lines that give way to something crushing; but this is more primitive and miles from the slick (too slick) atmosphere of the most recent Isis offshoot album: Palms [Palms is made up of 4/5 of the Isis band + Chino Moreno). So for me, Celestial is an 8.5/10 album. If you like Isis and any post-metal type music this album is eventually essential, but if you are just discovering this style then Oceanic or Panopticon are probably the best gateway albums.
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