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2004, Boston, Massachusetts

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Jeff Caxide – bass
Michael Gallagher – guitar
Aaron Harris – drums
Bryant Clifford Meyer – electronics, keyboards, guitar, vocals
Aaron Turner – guitar, vocals


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Isis was a Los Angeles, California-based band, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1997. They borrowed from and helped to evolve a sound pioneered by the likes of Neurosis and Godflesh, creating heavy music consisting primarily of lengthy songs that focus on repetition and evolution of structure and texture. As such, a great range of musical labels are used to describe their sound, including sludge metal and post-metal.

The band's most recent album Wavering Radiant, was released on May 5, 2009.

Several sessions of experimentation in Boston, Massachusetts led friends Aaron Turner (guitar/vocals; also the owner of Hydra Head Records and its subsidiary, HH Noise Industries), Jeff Caxide (bass guitar), Chris Mereschuk (electronics/vocals) and Aaron Harris (drums) to form Isis in late 1997. As Turner states, "Isis formed as a result of the dissatisfaction with past bands of the founding members. None of us were happy with what we were doing musically at the time, two of us lived together, we had similar tastes and similar record collections."[2] Isis released a demo and their first EP, Mosquito Control, in 1998, with this line-up. After an East Coast tour in the summer of 1998 where they were joined by Randy Larsen of Cable on guitar, Mereschuk left the band. Jay Randall (now of Agoraphobic Nosebleed) soon replaced him, working on Red Sea (1999). However, his stay would not last; this ultimately led to the addition of Bryant Clifford Meyer of The Gersch as well as former Cast Iron Hike guitarist Michael Gallagher in 1999. After releasing their debut full-length entitled Celestial and its sister EP, SGNL>05 (on Neurot Recordings), in 2000, Isis gained national underground attention in the metal/hardcore scene through tours with Cave In and Neurosis. Isis remains with this lineup to date.

For the SGNL>05 EP, they contacted Justin Broadrick (then of Godflesh) through their friends in Neurosis to remix the title track from Celestial, which they used as the EP's closer. Following SGNL>05, Isis signed with Mike Patton's label, Ipecac Recordings, who have issued the band's subsequent studio albums.

Whereas Celestial was still deeply rooted in metal and hardcore, 2002's follow-up, Oceanic, saw the band acquire new characteristics comparable to post-rock and ambient music, significantly aiding in the birth of the genre of post-metal in what many saw as a logical progression.[3] While much of the material on the album retained the band's former "metallic" intensity, this departure saw the band appeal to a far wider audience; as a result, Oceanic may be the group's most noted album to date, and is widely considered a turning-point in the history of the band.[4][5][6] Turner himself describes it as their "quintessential album".[7] It was at the time their most successful release, receiving album-of-the-year accolades from Rock Sound and Terrorizer in 2002,[8] In October 2003, Isis relocated to Los Angeles.

The distinctive tone of material since and including Oceanic had a noticeable impact on avant-garde metal,[9] helping develop the sound of several contemporaries; Cult of Luna, Pelican, Tides, Rosetta, and Russian Circles all cite Isis as an influence.[10][11] This underground success attracted the attention of the likes of Mogwai,[12] with whom they have toured on numerous occasions.

Oceanic Remixes and Reinterpretations was released in 2004, featuring reinterpretations of songs from Oceanic by a number of influential artists requested by the band. Both Oceanic and Oceanic Remixes feature female vocals by Maria Christopher of the band 27. The album featured another remix by Justin Broadrick, who has supported Isis on tours with his band, Jesu, which is signed to Hydra Head Records.

2004 saw the release of Isis' third album, Panopticon. It signified a further progression many had predicted since Oceanic, with a more advanced post-rock feel to the music both structurally and in terms of sound. Justin Chancellor of Tool makes an appearance on the track, "Altered Course". Overall, it was a very well received album, being awarded 'album of the year' accolades from Rock Sound[13] and reaching #47 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums charts; their first entry into any mainstream charts.[14] Before touring the USA, the band performed a free concert at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, a manifestation of the widespread recognition the band had acquired in artistic circles since the release of Oceanic.[15] Reacting to the impact of Oceanic and Panopticon, Revolver named Isis the twelfth heaviest band of all time in December 2004.[16] On 23 July 2006, they performed Oceanic in full at KOKO in London as part of All Tomorrow's Parties Don't Look Back season.[17]

Originally set for release on August 22, 2006, Clearing the Eye, the band's first DVD, documenting performances over the past five years throughout the world, was put on indefinite hold due to issues involving their label, Ipecac Recordings. It was eventually released on September 26, 2006. Also in September 2006, a collaboration with Aereogramme entitled In the Fishtank 14 was released as part of a project of Dutch label Konkurrent in which two artists are given two days' studio time to write and record their work.

The band finished recording their fourth full-length album, In the Absence of Truth, on July 9, 2006. It was released on October 31, 2006 on Ipecac. The record sees the band again evolving in a manner similar to Oceanic and Panopticon, this time adding new elements of electronics, song structure, drumming complexity, and vocal techniques. It sees the emergence of a more melodic sound than before, and leanings away from previous "drone" inclinations and towards more traditional metal elements, predominantly in the heavier sections.[18] It was also their most commercially successful release, peaking at #6 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart.[14]

Isis were the opening act for Tool's late 2006 North American tour in support of their new album, 10,000 Days. This led to increased exposure for the band, however the band members are not particularly comfortable with fame, and tend to keep their affairs private. Turner has stated that "We never imagined that Isis would become as successful or as popular as it has",[19] and confesses: "[Fans] taking a deeply personal interest in who I am, it fucking freaks me out. And I really do feel like sometimes when I get approached, I’m retreating into my shell."[10]

As of February 2007, the band has enlisted Justin Broadrick to mix a live performance of Oceanic in full,[20] and there is also a possibility of a collaboration with Tim Hecker, as Turner said in an MTV interview: "We've been recording everything that we've been playing together. It was all largely improvised but based on some really basic premises and parameters. That might actually end up turning into another record for us."[21]

The band's fifth studio album, Wavering Radiant, was released by Ipecac Recordings on CD on May 5, 2009 and in a limited vinyl edition (Light Blue 100 copies, Dark Blue 400 copies, Yellow 900 copies) on April 29, 2009. The album features Adam Jones of Tool.

In April 2009, the band won in the category "Best Underground Metal Act" at Revolver's 'Golden Gods' awards ceremony.[22]

The band is confirmed to play the 2010 Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

On May 18th, Isis announced their decision to break up following their West Coast tour, with their final show to be in Montreal - the location of the band's very first show - on June 23, 2010. Isis collectively stated they have "done everything we wanted to do, said everything we wanted to say," and, as part of an agreement made by the band at its formation, it did not wish to be faced with the possibility that it would "push past the point of a dignified death."

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