The Angry Scotsman
Isis has perfected the post metal sound so well, they now sound like everyone else!
Indeed, by this point post metal bands were starting to come out of the woodwork, and many previous sludgy doomy metal bands have since converted. In a sea of students yearning to get the teachers respect by recycling their material, leave it to the professors to change it up.
In the Absence of Truth, continues the progression of Isis. Clean guitar sounds dominate this album, which tends to dive into heaviness a bit less than previously. There is often a "clean heaviness" which I can't really describe, but you'll hear it and only the songs "Holy Tears" and "Garden of Light" make prominent use of the classic wall of sound.
So basically, this is a much cleaner and melodic album than anything Isis has done. This may turn off many metal heads and even Isis fans, but I urge you to listen to this album. While it could seem boring on the outside, any Isis fan should know deep listening reveals the true musicianship on this album. Often beautiful, always subtle and sophisticated, the soundscapes created by Isis are amazing.
Also of note, the drumming is a drastically different style featuring a very "tribal" style. It's awesome and provides an interesting base for this album. There's also greater use of clean vocals, and true clean vocals not even the kind of strained clean singing of past. The balance is in fact probably shifted to the clean side.
While it may sound like a mellow and beautiful album, (which it is) what makes it metal? What makes it Isis? Well don't worry, it's all still there. Just less prominently. This actually gives the album an even stronger post metal feel, as the build ups are really powerful now!
The clean/heavy/clean/heavy format was getting a bit tiresome, and by using less heavy sections they feel so much more substantial now. "Garden of Light" is one of the most powerful endings to an album I've ever heard.
For metal fans, and even Isis fans, this album may be a bit of a challenge. It's not the Isis of previous two albums but more subdued and post rock influenced, but be patient and submerse yourself to realize the greatness of this album. The greater the challenge the greater the reward, and those perpetually fine tuning metal engineers assembled another brilliant work.