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ISIS - Wavering Radiant

With 2006's In The Absence Of Truth, this onetime Boston, now L.A. quintet beautifully blurred the lines that separate the genres they pulled from--metal, post-rock, doom, grindcore, you name it--but it came at a cost. As high as that album's peaks were, there were definite lows as well, moments where the band's increasingly glossy sound, gentler tendencies and meandering writing deadened the visceral thrills that made 2002's Oceanic such an achievement. Wavering Radiant, however, finds the band solidifying the case for their new direction with an effort that bests ITAOT in every way: think Disintegration-era Cure making an art-metal album and you get the picture. This album trades in their initial approach of repeated riffs and quiet-LOUD dynamics for what is easily the most nuanced and varied writing of their career--in other words, they're taking a similar path to that of Mogwai, except that where the Scots' last two albums have sadly revealed the weaknesses in their writing, Isis have truly found another gear to shift to here. Early fans and metal diehards who contend that the band is just going soft won't have their minds changed, but the brilliant performances and well-honed communication on Wavering Radiant will make the group plenty of new friends, even without their narrow-minded endorsement.

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