Isis is one that harder to categorize bands I've reviewed. With every release they evolved and altered their sound. Generally lumped in with post-rock/post-metal and hardcore metal bands, they do draw from those influences while still adding their own stamp. Live V is the final album in a series of live albums released between 2004 and 2009. This recording covers a performance of the album Oceanic in it's entirety. Oceanic is noted in their catalog for introducing a lot of ambiance and cleaner, mellower moments to their brutal metal side. It's an often jarring mix, like rolling out of your feather bed onto a floor covered in broken glass.
The music mix and production is dense and balanced in both the heavy, sludgy moments and in the cleaner passages. Pretty good for a soundboard recording and not a live multitrack session. The vocals are delivered in mostly a guttural growl and something of a wail. Isis is a fairly new band to me, and the vocals take the most getting used to. More or less fitting for the music, but they are a little low in the mix. The lyrics are also almost impossible to decipher, which is too bad. The album tells a story and I think the lyrics are quite good.
Musically the song sections are somewhat repetitive, meant to lay out a wash of audio paint or an undulating sea of sound. Isis pulls this off very well live, despite having to change some of the instrumentation and some other elements of the songs. I also give the band credit for releasing so much live, raw material. Not many metal bands have the ambition or the skill to make it work. I don't recommend this album as an introduction to Isis, but is you're already a fan Live V should definitely be in your collection, especially since the band folded in 2010.
1. The Beginning And The End 9:25
2. The Other 8:09
3. False Light 7:41
4. Carry 5:24
5. -/Maritime 4:52
6. Weight 13:33
7. From Sinking 8:40
8. Hym 9:18