With the success/critical acclaim that they achieved, Boston, MA (and, currently, Los Angeles) based Isis rushed in the era of acceptance of bands that combined ferocity of hardcore/metal with atmospherics/ambience. Indeed, before them, bands like Oakland, CA Neurosis were also responsible for creating music that combined a number of seemingly unrelated genres/musical ideas, but it was Isis that finally broke through to a wider audience (and, as a result, a lot of similar bands were born – Cult Of Luna from Sweden would be one example).
Formed in 1997, Isis initially included Aaron Turner (also, an owner of Hydra Head Records label), Jeff Caxide, Chris Mereschuk and Aaron Harris. According to Turner, the band was formed because none of the members were satisfied with any of their musical projects of the moment and they also had similar musical tastes.
Their debut was 1998 Mosqito Control EP, followed by an East Coast tour. During that same year, guitarist Randy Larsen (Cable) was added to the line-up and Jay Randall (Agoraphabic Nosebleed) replaced Mereschuk (although he left the band after working with them on 1999 “Red Sea” EP). More members were added to the line-up eventually, including Bryant Clifford Meyer (Gersch) and Mike Gallagher (Cast Iron Hike).
Their full-length “Celestial” and a follow-up EP “SGNL>05” both came out on Neurot Recordings in 2000 and garnered band plenty of critical acclaim and tours with Neurosis and Cave In further soldified the band’s reputation. SGNL>05 included a remix of the title track from “Celestial” album done by none other than Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu).
Following the release of “Celestial”, they signed with Michael Patton’s Ipecac Recordings label and all of their subsequent full-lenghts – 2002 “Oceanic”, 2004 “Panopticon” and 2006 “In The Absence Of Truth” – all came out on Ipecac. The band also hinted at a possible collaboration with Canadian electronic musician Tim Hecker, as well as an upcoming (and still untitled album) coming in 2009.
Much of the musical foundation of the band, according to Turner, is based on work of bands like Neurosis, Godflesh, Melvins and Tool. Coincidentally, they toured with almost all of those bands, except for Godflesh who broke up in the very beginning of new millenium. However, they toured with Jesu – a new project of Justin Broadrick.
Band members are responsible for a number of side projects – Turner is in Old Man Gloom along with members of Converge, Cave In and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. House of Low Culture is his other project, which also includes Jeff Caxide from Isis, as well as members of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Khanate. Finally, Turner is also in Lotus Eaters, a trio that includes Stephen O’Malley (Sunn O))), Khanate) and James Plotkin (Khanate, Old Lady Drivers).
Aaron Harris (Loga)
Mike Gallagher (MGR)