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Review: ISIS – Live VI 11.16.07

Live VI 11.16.07

ISIS may have closed up shop back in June of 2010, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have plenty of material to still be released. Live VI 11.16.07 is the newest installment in their live series and it is culled from recordings during the band’s “Shades of the Swarm” 10th anniversary tour in 2007. More specifically, the band’s show at the Hawthorne Theater in Portland, OR.

On this recording the band runs through a careful selection of songs from each of their albums and they sound precise and on-point. A feat that a lot of bands are unable to achieve when they start getting long in the tooth. Right out of the gate, the band tears into the cacophony and truly post-metal hardcore noise that is “Hive Destruction” off their Mosquito Control EP. We then jump ahead a few albums into “So Did We” (Panopticon) and “Not In Rivers, But In Drops” (In The Absence of Truth), as the band slows down their pace and delve deep into their more melodic and nuanced sound.

The heaviness and noisy sludge come back with “Gentle Time” off Celestial as it opens the floor for another melodic transition of “Holy Tears” (In The Absence of Truth). This all to cleanly set up what is to fans who attended those anniversary shows, the highlight of the closing three tracks: “Weight” (Oceanic), “Red Sea” (The Red Sea), and “Carry” (Oceanic).

The last three tracks go easily hand-in-hand as a trilogy of sorts. Not only is the obvious water references in song titles and albums they’re on, but musically they flow seamlessly into one heavy and multi-layered track. The addition of Ayal Naor and Maria Christopher of long-time collaborators 27 (and touring with ISIS at the time) on guitars and vocals respectively on “Weight” and “Carry” (exactly like the album versions) add another level to the song.

Live VI 11.16.07 is easily now ISIS’ strongest of the live series. The sound is crisp and clear. The mix, thanks to drummer Aaron Harris who handled the recording and mixing, is sharp as a razor blade. Having attended the two Boston shows of this tour, this is a great reminder of what was being witnessed in celebration of the band’s 10th anniversary, and also proof that ISIS is a band like no other. A band that is greatly missed now, but who at least went out at the top of their game and never succumbed to mediocrity.

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