Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Isis -- In the Absence of Truth
In the Absence of Truth is about...who knows what it's about. The cryptic liner notes and lyrics and whatever other resources don't make much sense, but the album sounds like some sort of epic spiritual quest that ends in a "Garden of Light." The band, who merge heaviness with more gentle passages and ambiance, actually sound like they're having fun at times. In the Absence of Truth has a definite Middle-Eastern flavor stirred into it's heavy/beautiful fusion, as well (I mean, they are called "Isis"). I'll tell you why I like it, though, and why I think it is the most underrated album in Isis's rock-solid catalog:
It is extremely relaxed. That's not to say there is no tension. Though Aaron Turner sings far more than he screams throughout the album, In the Absence of Truth has its heavy moments. Check "Not In Rivers, But In Drops," which has a more adventurous flow than any of Isis' previous work: the rock avalanche drum opening, the fun lighter, exploratory passage, the heavy middle that shifts courses until the ambient final minute.
Listening to In the Absence of Truth is like exploring a pyramid. You pass through well-lit areas full of cool hieroglyphics, you move through tight, dark corridors that make you nervous, and you climb up to the top at the end and feel like you've just been enlightened (more on this archaeological aspect with the next, and final Isis review).
The band themselves look down on this album because of how loosely it was constructed, but they are missing the point--in not refining everything to death, they've exposed a free and easy side to their music that's not been previously heard. After the claustrophobic Panopticon, this is just what was needed. In the Absence of Truth, which is Isis' penultimate work, also contains more 70's prog rock guitar and keyboard textures than any previous Isis album. Thankfully, these two elements would not be dropped for their final release, but explored to a greater degree.
2006 Ipecac Recordings
1. Wrists of Kings 7:45
2. Not In Rivers, But In Drops 7:48
3. Dulcinea 7:10
4. Over Root and Thorn 8:31
5. 1,000 Shards 6:17
6. All Out of Time, All Into Space 3:04
7. Holy Tears 7:04
8. Firdous E Bareen 7:50
9. Garden of Light 9:17