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Jason Gardner 11/12/12 11:54 AM

Isis - Temporal
Isis - Temporal
Record Label: Ipecac
Release Date: November 13, 2012

Though their legacy physically ending with their dissolving a couple years back, Isis’ contributions to the metal genre are examined and re-visited in a new compilation of sorts by the name of Temporal. The two-disc collection goes way back into the band’s early days in terms of demos and rarities, while also providing some alternative takes on some particular songs. Though perhaps not as an immediate draw for everyone, Temporal is a strong posthumous effort that doesn’t hold back in terms of content.

With fourteen tracks and nearly two hours worth of material to delve into, Temporal is no half-assed compilation – it is more than able to please your search for more material as an Isis fan. The first disc is comprised of demos ranging from the subdued tension of “Ghost Key” to the groove heavy moments of tracks like “Threshold of Transformation” and “False Light”. While it might be tough for someone outside of the fandom to appreciate the subtle or not so subtle differences between the demos and the actual versions, these tracks in particular pack enough of a punch that you’d be damned to decide if they weren’t the real version anyways.

The second disc is more of a collection of previously released goodies and a couple unreleased tracks, including a Godflesh cover and a Black Sabbath cover that were recorded earlier in the band’s career. The acoustic version of “20 Minutes/40 Years” is a particularly interesting beast though, especially considering how reined in the instruments are with brushed drums to compliment the acoustic guitars. The two remixes are sure to raise initial questions considering this generation’s idea of a remix in the form of crazy electronics – but the rethinking of “Not in Rivers, But in Drops” and “Holy Tears” are peculiar enough if only a bit choppy in their respective deliveries.

On the flip though, and an admitted draw for me to this disc, it certainly is a good starting point for anyone wanting to really get into this band even if they aren’t necessarily around anymore. Granted, Isis is not a band that is truly grasped unless you’re willing to travel down a rabbit-hole like mentality in the musical tapestry this band creates. The average track ranges somewhere in the six-minute mark, while two tracks push past – or in the matter of “Gray Divide” well past – the ten minute mark. Not that it is unaccessible, but I can appreciate the part of my listening habits that Isis cues throughout Temporal, whether it be the emotionally tugging post-rock bits or the wonderfully crushing grooves these guys pen with such little effort.

Isis’ Temporal is an honest and respectable attempt to not only chronicle their career perhaps intrigue a few more people in the process. Between the demos and the mix of b-sides, there’s more than enough to stir the interest of anyone with an interest in a somewhat retrospective of the band – regardless of your familiarity with them.