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I'm sure we all know some bands that can't pull their albums off live. Sometimes, the stuff is too technical, over times, the amount of overdubs and studio trickery make it impossible to accurately replicate the sound. I always thought Isis might be one of those bands. That the vocals wouldn't sound right. Or that the guitars wouldn't be as crushing as they are on record. Put simply.. I was wrong. This is an excellent live album and while I've never seen their show, to me it confirms Isis as a class live act.
Admittedly, not every song is as crushing as it is on record. The songs that were recorded earlier (Gentle Time, C.F.T and Celestial) aren't quite as heavy as per usual, and when compared to the stuff that's been recorded more recently, you can see the progression Isis have done over the years in terms of live stuff. Still, they're pretty good recordings, all generously extended with a few riffs extended a bit, and in the case of a few songs on this album, long ambient bits added. These ambient bits sound really good, particularly the C.F.T intro. C.F.T was always my least favourite song of Celestial, but in a live environment, it really shines. What was once a fairly plain song becomes moody, epic and mystical in the live environment. Celestial sounds pretty cool, though it doesn't match the massive heaviness that's in the album version. The improv however, recorded in the same year, really does illustrate how talented these guys are. For a jam session, it's pretty cohesive and sounds pretty awesome.
Probably the best song on this album is False Light. This is probably the heaviest song on Oceanic, and here, it's even heavier. The powerful, pounding riff that's the centrepiece of this song sounds stunning live, and it must be truly intense to see them play this song. There's some pretty cool drum rolls by Aaron Harris too. Basically, False Light sounds incredible. The middle part is great too, and in typical live Isis fashion, it's drawn out a bit too, just for ultimate awesomeness.
The two tracks that where recorded latest show that Isis have basically got their tunes down perfectly. The guitars are just as heavy as on record (that's no mean feat) basically, everything is as it should be. Glisten sounds pretty cool, but the real good track here is the extended version of weight, clocking in at 12:25. Not surprisingly, this has an ambient intro (which is tacked on to the song's already ambient intro) but it works pretty well. After about 5 minutes, it finally starts going, and like C.F.T, this song works much better live. Unlike C.F.T however, it was a great song already. This is another classic song, that's worth tracking down this CD just to get this song.
Basically, I couldn't recommend this highly enough. Even if you've only got Panopticon, this CD would still be good for you. The recording quality varies a little bit, but overall you can't complain too much. It's not for sale online yet, only on tour, but as soon as it is, snap it up before it's gone!
an edit: Dropping it down by 10%. It's still a damn good live album.. but 97%?? It's not that great. Also, It's out of print, so good luck finding it!