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3.32 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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EP · 1999


1. Charmicarmicarmicat Shines to Earth (02:23)
2. The Minus Times (05:25)
3. Red Sea (07:17)
4. Smiles and Handshakes (06:02)
5. Catalyst (04:26)
6. Ochre (04:40)
7. Lines Across Eyes (05:52)

Total Time 36:05

Japanese edition:

8. Hand of Doom (Black Sabbath cover) (08:36)

Total Time 44:41

8" vinyl EP:

A1. Charmicarmicarmicat Shines to Earth (02:23)
A2. The Minus Times (05:25)
B1. Red Sea (07:17)

Total Time 15:05


- Aaron Turner / guitar, vocals
- Jeff Caxide / bass
- Aaron Harris / drums
- Jay Randall / electronics, vocals (tracks 1-3)
- Chris Mereschuck / electronics (tracks 4-7)

About this release

CD and 8" vinyl EP released 16th April 1999 on Second Nature (SN014). Vinyl EP limited to 1064 copies:

3 aqua/green transition
88 opaque orange/white marble
160 opaque green/white marble
161 opaque purple/white marble
186 opaque aqua/white marble
233 opaque grey/white marble
233 opaque pink/white marble

8" vinyl EP repressed November 1999 on Second Nature (SN014). Vinyl EP limited to 1098 copies:

172 Red
196 Clear
147 Gold
183 Mint Green
191 Baby Blue
209 Yellow

12" vinyl EP released 21st November 2001 on Second Nature (SN014), limited to 2500 copies:

700 180 gram black
450 opaque red
450 metallic grey
450 clear
450 opaque red / metallic grey
15 test pressing

12 " vinyl EP (two pressings) released March 2007 on Second Nature (SN014), limited to:

First pressing:
364 half black/half gold with black splatter
363 purple
363 green

Second pressing:
80 translucent blue/translucent green splatter
86 white/black/translucent red splatter
370 half black/half translucent red
370 gold/translucent red/black tri-colour
370 translucent blue/black colour in colour

12" vinyl EP reissued January 2008 on Second Nature Recordings (SN014), limited to:

109 translucent red / black splatter (white cover)
100 white / metallic gold colour in colour (white cover)
100 clear / white splatter with translucent red speckles (white cover)
89 180 gram (black cover)
4 translucent red / black splatter (natural chipboard cover)
6 White / metallic gold colour in colour (natural chipboard cover)
8 clear / white splatter with translucent red speckles (natural chipboard cover)
8 180 gram (natural chipboard cover)

12" vinyl EP reissued June 2012 on Second Nature Recordings (SN014), limited to 1000 copies:

500 translucent red
500 white / black
10 test pressing

CD released 2001 in Japan on (unknown), with bonus track.

Recorded at God City in February 1999.
Mastered at M-Works in March 1999.

Tracks 4-7 are bonus tracks taken from Isis' four-song demo.

Vinyl released as 8" with the 3 original tracks. Pressing information:

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman, Bosh66 for the updates

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
While still touring the East Coast, ISIS continued to work on original material that was released early on as short EPs. After the debut EP, “The Mosquito Control,” electronics contributor and backing vocalist Chris Mereschuk departed and was replaced by Jay Randall now of Agoraphobic Nosebleed but would be the only release to feature him. While “The Mosquito Control” was an EP that hit the 30 minute mark, the second release in EP form, THE RED SEA was originally released simply with three tracks on vinyl but on the CD form it also contained the tracks from the 1998 demo. A Japanese version also included the Black Sabbath cover “Hand of Doom.
 THE RED SEA is notable for slowly ratcheting up the band’s post-metal and electronic sensibilities that would come into full display on the full-length debut “Celestial.” ISIS was never one to reinvent itself after every album but on the contrary played out as a band much like the music it delivered, namely change things up incrementally and in a nonchalant subtle manner. Not only does THE RED SEA sound a lot more like the future ISIS releases but also debuts themes such as water that would culminate in “Oceanic” as well as a more developed fusion of the band’s hardcore, doom metal, sludge metal and dark ambient possibilities.

Despite the leap forward, THE RED SEA EP still contains a heavier hardcore sound although less bombastic and caustic as “The Mosquito Control.” Given the EP is so short, it pays to obtain the edition with the bonus demo tracks however they are rather forgettable and only serve to show the origins of the band’s hardcore past and how it blossomed into the more sophisticated atmospheric sludge metal and post-metal realities of albums like “Oceanic” and “Panopticon.” Overall the album sounds unlike anything else the band had done before or after despite common traits.

"Charmicarmicarmicat Shines to Earth” is pure sonic terror. A very strange sonic smorgasbord of ethereal atmospheric freakiness and caustic jagged angular guitar chords sounding more like the funeral doom metal band Esoteric than anything ISIS ever released. This is by far the weirdest track ISIS has ever released. The screams of anguish beneath the caustic din are particularly jarring. “The Minus Times” is more in line with the previous EP with heavy hardcore guitar, bass and drums and a fast tempo. Also unlike future ISIS but more in line with what came before. Still though, this track is looser and beginning to display some of the more progressive chaotic moments between the cracks. The title track points more to the future with a slower tempo and the mix of doomy distorted riffs with segments that drift into post-rock embellished with electronics. Not as accomplished as future full-length albums but still leading there.

In line with “The Mosquito Control EP,” THE RED SEA EP is also not essential but above average in quality and displays three distinctly different tracks that offer glimpses into the evolution of ISIS’ atmospheric sludge domination of the 2000s. Michael Gallagher tamed his drumming style into the familiar percussive framing and the overall compositional approach had found many similarities with the classics to come, however THE RED SEA EP still has a very DIY indie sound to it despite a better production job. For those who only love the slicker albums this probably will be too noisy but for those who dig the early rawness of sludgy hardcore inspired post-metal then this will surely scratch that itch.

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