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Celestial [Digipak]
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  • Isis includes: Aaron Turner (vocals, guitar).
  • Audio Mixer: Matt Bayles.
  • Recording information: The Outpost, Stoughton, MA (01/2000-02/2000).
  • Celestial is Isis' first full-length after two EPs, The Red Sea and Mosquito Control, and it shows their already fairly mature sludgecore style in full swing. Those earlier EPs proved that they already knew how to rock hard, but Celestial, for the first time, also shows off the band's feel for dynamics and for less-aggressive, quieter ways of getting their point across (including a more effective and advanced use of electronic/noise elements). There has always been as much despair as anger in frontman Aaron Turner's sandpaper screams, and listening to the clean-toned guitar intro on the mostly instrumental "C.F.T. (New Circuitry and Continued Evolution)," it's clear that this much is also true about the band's music in general. At the same time, tracks such as "Gentle Time" and "Swarm Reigns (Down)" are as hypnotically heavy as anything the band has done up to this point, with Turner's vocals sounding especially vicious on the latter song. The songs here clock in mostly in the six-to-eight-minute range and rely on a lot of repetitive guitar figures and rhythms, most in the same slow-to-medium tempo range, and as a result the album might sound a little same-y from track to track the first few times around. Given time, though, the details and nuances begin to show through, with the album as a whole taking on an almost epic feel. This is Isis' best work and a strong full-length debut. ~ William York
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