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Isis: Live IV Selections 2001-2005 & Live V 07.23.06

Live albums are a curious beast. Some are recording contract fillers, some are overdubbed after the event and not quite live after all, and some provide a challenge for the bands that have employed all kinds of studio trickery to create their art (which in itself is not a bad thing given the music that's produced). Isis are a band that spent their lifetime working to produce art of an exceptional standard and their studio recordings could easily have threatened the quality of their live performances. But Isis were (and remain) consummate musicians and were as superior on stage as on record.

Of the tracks on Live IV Selections 2001-2005, it's the tracks recorded earlier that are not as heavy as usual but this provides a great insight into the development of Isis as a live band. With the extension of a few riffs and ambient parts added, such as at the beginning of CFT, a song that's not the best on 2000's Celestial but works well live. 'False Light' and 'Weight' from Oceanic are perhaps the best songs here, with Aaron Harris's drum-work - his fills in particular standing out.

Where Live IV is a selection of performances taken from differing sources over a five-year span, Live V, produced by Justin Broadrick, is a complete performance of 2002's Oceanic taken from a direct soundboard recording from 2006. Oceanic is regarded, rightly, as a triumph in the band's history, a successful blend of styles that not only shifted the band to the forefront of metal but marked 'The Beginning Of The End' of a genre that had nowhere else to go. Isis had taken it as far as it could be taken before they moved on to ever greater musical heights with Panopticon, In The Absence of Truth, and what came to be their swansong, Wavering Radiant. Of course, 'False Light' and 'Weight' make another appearance and are, again, outstanding, representing a band that never stopped improving in the live environment.

Remarkable as these albums are in terms of performance, here, the live album format itself provides the problems as the quality of the recordings and of the production is not the best. But that's due to the source. No matter how many times you shine bronze, it's not gonna turn into gold. But that is insignificant. Just over a year since their break up, these albums serve as a potent reminder not only of what Isis were capable of both in the studio and on stage, but also as to what the metal scene is missing. These mark the last Isis albums to be released so make sure you get hold of them.

Track Listing: Live IV Selections 2001-2005

  1. Gentle Time
  2. Glisten
  3. CFT
  4. Celestial
  5. Improv I / Endless Nameless
  6. False Light
  7. Weight

    Track Listing: Live V

    1. The Beginning and the End
    2. The Other
    3. False Light
    4. Carry
    5. - / Maritime
    6. Weight
    7. From Sinking
    8. Hym

Added: June 25th 2011
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Related Link: Band website
Hits: 2670
Language: english

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