ISIS — Oceanic (review)

ISIS — Oceanic album cover Album · 2002 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Sleepwalker
Oceanic is the second full length studio album by Isis, characterized by sludgy guitars, dominant instrumentation and frequent interplay between delicacy and roughness. This distinctive sound has been highly influential to Post-Metal bands such as Pelican. Listening to the album, it doesn’t feel strange that Oceanic is Isis’ highest regarded album up to date alongside Panopticon.

Like already mentioned, the album features a notable interplay between delicate ambient music and crushing metal, making the album sound diverse and exciting. The musicianship is excellent, to say the least. The music isn’t incredibly complex or technically outstanding, but the band rather relies on powerful, thick sounding riffs varying from explosive and sludgy to more melodic. The riffs sound original and strong, often with chugging downtuned guitars, pounding drums and groovy basslines. All in all, the music is very energetic and dynamic. The album is a concept album (like other Isis albums), telling the dramatic story of a relationship that makes a man commit suicide by drowning himself. Aaron Turner’s vocals also are great, varying from beautiful melodies to fierce screams. Sometimes the clean vocals tend to sound a bit lost in the mix, but I can’t blame the riffs for being as powerful and dominating as they are.

The album is driven by instrumentation rather than vocals, but doesn’t tend to drag at all. Every single piece of the album is a great and unique experience, though they all share the same conceptual theme. Oceanic is an incredible album and is sure to blow fans of heavy and sludgy post-metal of their chairs. Absolutely mind-blowing, hence the rating.
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