Ever wonder what happens when an intelligent post-rock/metal outfit runs out of creativity? They disband, that’s what. ISIS realized it was time to stop and thankfully so. I think they realized it a bit late but “better late than never”. Much to the dismay of their dorky young male cult following, the first related project release is not metal in any way. The web is abuzz with these childrens’ negative comments about this release from ISIS bass player Jeff Caxide.
Newsflash, people, talented artists mature. Veteran musicians with evolving and expansive tastes cannot continue performing the same genre of music their entire life. And, since I see drone as the new indie rock, I’m impressed with Caxide for changing with the times.
This is a drone record but there still exists a sound akin to his previous work. Guitar based loops and echoes reverberate through a gloomy film-like soundscape with additional instrumentation from ISIS members Aaron Harris and Bryan Clifford Meyer (drums and keyboards, respectively). My first reaction when listening to the second track “The Silver Hammer” is that ISIS is all grown up. This is the cut that most resembles their catalog, slow and sweeping epic guitar lines paired with e-bowed swells eventually cross paths with Aaron Harris’ giant kick drum and washed out cymbal work.
An interesting aspect that separates Caxide’s first solo effort from much other drone music floating around is one that may only be noticeable to other musicians. It is quite apparent that this is music made by someone that was in a rock band for many years. The precise execution of everything presented here screams the experience of staying in time with other players. Add to this his background as a sound designer and it all begins to make sense.
Caxide also manages to give us thirty-nine minutes of multiple moods and often shifting emotions as opposed to some drone that can be flat and devoid of change. This record leaves me feeling fulfilled. My musical and intellectual hunger is completely satiated.
I also appreciate that a not too surprising finishing touch of the release is a DVD style package designed by ISIS vocalist / guitarist Aaron Turner. Its nice to realize that it wasn’t a textbook example of band demise. They definitely didn’t break up because they hated each other.