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An interesting 5-song remix EP from this promising doom/sludge outfit whose previous album 'Celestial' has raised quite a few eyebrows. It opens with 'SGNL>05 (Final Transmission)' which is more of an ambient/experimental intro into the inevitable onslaught of heaviness that follows. The second track 'Diving Mother (The Tower Crumbles)' is a sludge symphony of chugging guitars, interrupted by calmer moments where more room is left for the screaming vocals (which are fairly low in the mix, letting the guitars take center stage). It comes across as basically a stripped down, yet heavier version of what Neurosis have been doing on their recent albums (although with some atonal passages that reminded me a bit of Breach) and at nearly 8 minutes of running time it should easily please any hardened doom/sludge fanatic.

Moving forth allows us to experience song #3, namely 'Beneath Below', which is the most experimental track on this EP. Stripped totally of guitars, it focuses instead on the interaction of slow, ritualistic drums played at funeral doom speeds (there's even a damn depressing organ hovering in the background), while an array of experimental sounds hovers left and right... pretty much an instrumental, trance-inducing piece. Next is the true highlight of this release, namely 'Constructing Towers', which is one of the most bludgeoning, crushing pieces of doom/sludge ever. It starts off with an acoustic guitar playing a simple, spaced out set of chords, which are inevitably crushed by the introduction of ultra-thick guitars and drums. While the guitars repeat an ominous riff, the drums build up more and more of a ritualistic pattern. More and more atonal guitar tracks are molded in as time progresses, making the song seem to grow heavier by the minute, until fairly late in the game some screaming vocals kick in. But they are arranged in a manner not to distract from the unstoppable march of the guitar riffs that make up the core of this amazing piece. Everything finishes off with 'Celestial (Signal Fills The Void)', a remix by the almighty J.K. Broadrick of Godflesh fame, who despite the extremely innovative work in his Techno Animal side-project delivers a fairly toned down, minimalistic remix. It consists mostly just of the ritualistic drums, spiced up by the spacey, ambient sounds and the occasional reverbed, muffled vocals somewhere in the back, with just a fairly toned down guitar riff monotonously repeating itself. Quite a decent remix, although to be frank I expected a bit more from Godflesh's leader, he has done much more daring and innovative remixes in the past.

Despite having only 5 songs, this release lasts nearly 40 minutes (with 3 songs over 8 minutes), so it's quite long for an EP. If you're new to ISIS I would recommend checking out their last full-length 'Celestial' instead, but 'SGNL>05' is an interesting, more experimental view of their current work that should please existing fans of the band.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. SGNL>05 (Final Transmission)
2. Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)
3. Beneath Below
4. Constructing Towers
5. Celestial (Signal Fills The Void)

Duration : Approx. 36 minutes

Visit the ISIS bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Jacek Furmankiewicz
Thermal Mass
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