November 9, 2006


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Isis, In the Absence of Truth
Ipecac Recordings, 2006

It’s that time of year when the office gets to looking like the rock ‘n’ roll Santa Claus piñata exploded in here. The mailbox is full of free stuff every day. Never mind the kitchen table and the catch-all boxes in the spare room, there are at least 60 CDs and DVDs splattered on the desk alone, the South Park Hits Vol. 1 DVD laying sinfully atop DJ Hell’s latest house-mix CD, whose cover is too Fritz the Cat for any paper that isn’t distributed in Manhattan, hence its invisible review here. If there’s a point to this aside from pathetically egomaniacal bragging and ensuring that no packages from Sony ever get here again, it’s to say that the new Isis album does stand out even in 2006’s Xmas tsunami, particularly if you’d pay good money for a cross between Moonspell, Neurosis, Alice n Chains and the Police. Stewart Copeland-like drummer Aaron Harris puts Absence on the righteous path by loosening the snare chains and wailing on the set like a gibbon on steroids (see “Dulcinea,” whose vocal harmonies are so Stahley/Cantrell that you can almost hear 10,000 Beavises hollering “JERRYYYY” at the top of their blackened lungs), but the placidity of it all is what’s so downright unnerving. B

— Eric W. Saeger