Isis – “Temporal” Review
Isis has been a major force in the post-metal world. Their past releases feature some great pieces that evolve in subtle ways. “Temporal” is a collection of demos, covers, remixes, and unreleased songs from the band’s career. For fans, this is a nice collection, and one you should pick up, despite many underwhelming tracks.
I will skip mentioning the demos of previously released album songs, as the original versions are familiar to fans of the band. The highlights of this collection for me are six tracks: remixes of “Not in Rivers, But in Drops” and “Holy Tears”, a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom”, an acoustic version of “20 Minutes/40Years”, and the previously unreleased “Temporal” and “Grey Divide”.
The remixes of “Not in Rivers, But in Drops” and “Holy Tears” are quite good. I was skeptical about a “remix” of an Isis song – it didn’t sound like it would mesh with their heavy and slow-developing sound. Yet, these two tracks proved me wrong and took me by surprise. They are quite well done and serve as a nice complement to the original tracks (“Not in Rivers, But in Drops” especially).
The next two mentioned tracks are interesting in their own respects, but not astounding. The cover of “Hand of Doom” is cool. It is odd to hear Isis playing something that follows a normal song structure with verses and a chorus, yet they do a good job of doing the pioneer metal group homage. The acoustic version of “20 Minutes/40 Years” is also a nice take on a classic Isis track. While it certainly doesn’t capture the same feelings as the original, it is a nice change of pace for the group.
Lastly, we have “Temporal” and “Grey Divide”. The title track is an instrumental track the hits hard and fast. The biggest treat on the album, however, is the final track on disc 1, “Grey Divide”. This approximately 17-minute epic is phenomenal. It moves in many directions during its long cycle, ranging from a powerful intro, to a very subtle progression on a lighter tone, and back to a heavier section. I will say that I’m glad this track has finally surfaced as it is an incredible song, and one of Isis’ finest.
On the whole, the album is a nice collection for fans of Isis or post-metal. While the demos have some mixing issues, and the collection as a whole could be underwhelming, these standouts make the collection a worthy purchase for fans, but not for first-time Isis listeners.
Final Score: 6.5/10