Wavering Radiant is the fifth full-length album by post-metal band Isis. Set release dates are April 21, 2009 for the vinyl version and May 5, 2009 for the CD version – both to be released on Ipecac Records.
Very rarely is it that I find an album that seems to truly encompass what a band has accomplished since their inception. Isis may have done that with Wavering Radiant. I can hear bits and pieces of things very familiar from Oceanic, In the Absence of Truth, Panopticon, and Celestial. The opening riff of the album sounds incredibly like the riff from “Celestial (The Tower)” (which was essentially the album opener for Celestial). Even given the fact that they have borrowed a lot of stuff from their older albums, they still seemed to make it fresh. The amount of ambient and background textures on this album amazes me. They are all incredible, and set totally different moods than I am used to hearing from Isis. One piece in particular is about two-thirds of the way through “Stone to Wake a Serpent” in which there are many layers that give the song a very ghostly and ethereal sound (mainly the piano that sits behind the wall of guitars), this along with the new-found lead guitar textures.
Like every Isis (and post-metal/post-rock) album, every song is an epic adventure lasting of no less than seven minutes, aside from the title track, which is only a minute and forty-eight seconds long. What I assume to be the first single from the album, “20 Minutes/40 Years” might be the best track on the album, and is streaming on the band’s myspace, is truly a musical adventure. It definitely does not break any boundaries for post-metal or Isis, but they really got it right on this track. Whenever music actually takes you places, it can only be a good thing.
For anyone who likes some good post-metal, Isis would be my first choice, and seems to be all but leading their genre at this point. This album can only further solidify them as the most impressively consistent band in the post-metal arena. I think this album rates on the level of anything they have done yet. It is just as heavy, just as atmospheric, and just as amazing.
Track picks: “20 Minutes/40 Years” and “Ghost Key”
Overall Score: 9.5/10 devil horns