ISIS — Mosquito Control (review)

ISIS — Mosquito Control album cover EP · 1998 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Boston based ISIS got its start in 1997 which resulted from the band member’s dissatisfaction with previous projects. While in modern times, ISIS is recognized as one of the major pioneers of the post-metal and atmospheric sludge metal sounds that evolved the sounds of previous pioneers Neurosis and Godflesh, in the beginning it simply started out as guitarist / vocalist Aaron Turner, bassist Jeff Caxide, Christ Mereschuk (electronics/vocals) and drummer Aaron Harris engaging in musical experiments. The friends quickly concatenated their various influences into a cohesive whole and in 1998 began touring the East Coast of the USA. While famous for such landmark albums as “Oceanic” and “Panopticon,” THE MOSQUITO CONTROL EP is where it all began and is the first official release after the 1998 demo.

THE MOSQUITO CONTROL EP is by far the band’s heaviest release of their career which spanned from 1997 to 2010 before they disbanded. While all the albums were graced with heavy distortion and sludge metal bombast, they were equally pacified by hypnotic atmospheric embellishments and electronic surreality. On this first EP, the emphasis is on the heavy distortion and bombastic metal sludge riffing that exposes the band member’s previous involvement in post-hardcore however while that exists in the chugging rampage of the riffs delivered at fast tempos, ISIS was already displaying the hypnotic repetitive cyclical loops that already existed in the world of post-rock. And like the compositions found on post-rock releases, THE MOSQUITO CONTROL EP linked four caustic tracks together so that they run seamlessly together in the EP’s 29 minute run.

Decidedly misanthropic and critical of power structures from the very beginning, this debut release thematically tackles how humanity can be symbolized by the MOSQUITO in which the massive power structures that keep us under control treat us like insects and feel fit to exterminate us with impunity. These themes would become a staple of ISIS’ subject matter such as the control towers depicted on this EP’s 2018 remastered album cover as well as the themes on “Celestial,” the band’s first full-length debut which was released two years later. THE MOSQUITO CONTROL EP can be thought of as a transition release which would feature the last lineup of the early years and where the band would de-emphasize the hardcore bombast experimented here and focus more on the atmospheric electronic ambience however those elements do make their debut here. There are many moments in both “Life Under The Swatter” and “Relocation Swarm” that point the way to the future.

Overall, THE MOSQUITO CONTROL EP cannot be considered one of the essential ISIS acquisitions for a music collection but it is also just above the merely “good” status as well. This is some seriously heavy sludgy post-metal that borders on doom metal at times and displays some of the noisiest and guitar laden tracks that ISIS ever recorded. This was a very much DIY sort of beginning with the entire production process only costing 600$USD. This album may exhibit post-metal meanderings but is heavily distorted and bombastically brutal with ugly feedback and industrial grade scariness lurking around every cadence. Personally i love this early filthy raw material that is both manic and hypnotic at the same time with moments where one mood dominates over the other. An excellent portrayal of early ISIS with only hints of what was to come. The ending is particularly chaotic and threatens your very sanity. Great job, guys!
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