Aug 26, 2009

2009: Isis - Wavering Radiant

Isis is the band that seams to please both metal and non-metal fans because of their use of spacey ambience and obvious post-rock influences, as their followers Pelican seem to fully embrace. Isis is perhaps more melodic than most metal bands, but most of their instrumentation is in the style of typical metal bands. The vocals are shouted, screamed but also sung. I always prefer the latter though. The guitars are heavy with distortion, but sometimes quite spacey with an ambient feel, and always hidden behind chorus effects, while the drums are tight and skillfully adds to the music. Isis also uses some keyboards, that often lingers at the end of songs. But the songs aren't slow in building to a finalizing climax, like most post-rock. Though they do feature some of the experimentation that lies with post-rock. The album has plenty of dark melodies that creates a haunting atmosphere, although previous albums like "In The Absence of Truth" pulled that off somewhat better, and I don't think they would be so successful in doing so without the screamed out vocals. The band does however use some of the screeching and shimmering (feedbacking) guitar effects that make "Stone To Wake A Serpent" and "Threshold of Transformation" sound amazing. Wavering radiant really feels like a concept album where the songs flow into eachother as if they're only meant to be played in one sitting. With songs lasting up to and over ten minutes (except for the title track) there is way too much here to digest of first listen. But you might want to check up on their previous albums before listening to this one.

Score: 7.5/10

Listen at spotify or grooveshark

Aug 9, 2009

2009: Wilco - Wilco (the album)

As some people waited in anticipation for the release of the new Wilco album, thousands of internet users had already acquired it from the internet. Wilco then retaliated by streaming it from their website. And so Wilco finally released their self-titled album with a somewhat ironic title. The album starts with Wilco (the song), which plays in a cool shuffle much like Can't Stand It from Summerteeth, with a moisy keyboard/guitar sort of thing, like they used in YHF. But this album isn't exactly going to suprise fans by going into a totally different direction, this is more of a continuation of all the work that Wilco has been doing throughout their career, although they don't sound like the country-rock band they were once labeled as, they still have some instrumentation that could remind you of it. This like previous Wilco albums is a pop/rock-album, with enchanting melodies (like the ones on "Deeper Down") accompanied by Tweedys soothing vocals. This album is also a small step away from Sky Blue Sky, where the solos were more jazz-influenced they now are sonically great especially the guitar work on "One Wing". "You And I" sounds very much like one of those acoustic songs from Summerteeth, but this album doesn't re-capture their lyrical cleverness mixed with incredible twee-pop melodies. But there's plenty of good pop songs to be had on this album such as "You Never Know", which instantly reminds me of some of George Harrison's early work. But the best song on this album has to be "I'll Fight" which immediately hooks you with it's emotionally charged verse, that Tweedy has no problem singing with such a passion that gives us no choice but to believe him. Tweedys lyrics on this album aren't that great on their own but with the instrumentation of the band they can create some amazing songs, although you won't find a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or Summerteeth here, this is a worthy addition to Wilco's already great discography.

Score: 7/10

Listen at Grooveshark or Spotify