Three years since their split, Isis may be gone but they are far from forgotten. In order to commemorate the enormous impact these guys have had upon the post-metal genre, their debut full length ‘Celestial’ is being re-released – originally put out back in 2000, it paved the way for many bands across the years and has seen multiple acts try to recreate its unique and groundbreaking sound.
This album has been out of print for a fairly long time and as one of the most sought after Isis records it will be a relief to many to finally be able to get their hands on this incredible piece of musical history – it’s been given a total overhaul, including artwork produced by ex-frontman Aaron Turner.
When placed next to their later, slower and more brooding releases, such as ‘Oceanic’ and ‘Panopticon’, ‘Celestial’ seems almost aggressive and, when considering that this reissue has been remastered by James Plotkin, every sound byte of reverb is that much clearer and easier to appreciate. Classics such as ‘Deconstructing Towers’ take on a whole new dimension of heaviness and the musical crafting is much more apparent.
‘Celestial’ is defined as “pertaining to the spiritual or invisible heaven” and a spiritual experience is most definitely what this is. The forward momentum of the music is both uplifting and enthralling with chunky slabs of sludge interspersed throughout. Unfortunately the ‘SGNL’ filler tracks have still been included on the reissue – these were totally unnecessary the first time round and it seems there is little point in including them, as they do nothing to enhance the full length tracks.
As amazing as this was when first released, only revisiting it now will help fans to understand just how influential Isis were, not just with this release but with their discography as a whole. Most striking of all is how progressive this record sounds, even now, when other bands have had over a decade to push boundaries, no one else has managed to measure up to the enormity of Isis. This is the definitive album for the band – it helped carve out a niche in metal for them and pushed them on their way towards becoming one of the most magnificent bands of their time.
Scribed by: Angela Davey