Associated Entries: Artist Profile – Aaron Turner
While their hybrid of ambience and sludge / hardcore/metal wasn’t by any means new (the band’s founder Aaron Turner cited Melvins, Godflesh, Tool and Neurosis as primary influences), Boston (and currently, LA) based Isis took it to new heights. Along the way, they also influenced plenty of other bands (Sweden’s Cult Of Luna is just 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 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.
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).
Update – In 2009, Isis released their latest studio album called “Wavering Radiant”. All Music Guide described it as “hardly a typical heavy metal album, even if it has many of the trappings of one.” and further on, pointed out that “Wavering Radiant works as a single piece of music rather than a series of songs, and it is cohesively played by an ensemble that is more interested in the dark majesty of metal than its potential for expressing anger.
Aaron Harris (Loga)
Aaron Turner (House Of Low Culture, Isis, Lotus Eaters, Old Man Gloom)
Bryant Clifford Meyer (Red Sparowes, Windmills By The Ocean)
Jay Randall (Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Artificial Intelligence Agency, Bastard Noise, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, Substance Abuse)
Jeff Caxide (5ive, Red Sparrowes)
Mike Gallagher (MGR)
The Mosquito Control EP 12″ / CD (Escape Artist, 1998 / 2001)
Sawblade EP 12″ (Tortuga, 1999)
The Red Sea EP 8″ (Second Nature, 1999)
The Red Sea CD (Second Nature, 1999)
Celestial 2xLP / CD (Hydra Head Europe, 2000 / Escape Artist, 2001)
Isis / Pig Destroyer Split 7″ (Relapse, 2000)
Celestial / SGNL>05 EP CD (Ritual, 2001)
SGNL>05 EP 12″ / CD (Tortuga, 2001 / Neurot, 2001)
Oceanic 2xLP / CD (Ipecac, 2002 / Trust No One, 2002 / Ritual, 2002)
Oceanic Remixes / Reinterpretations 4×12″ / 2xCD (Daymare, 2004 / Hydra Head, 2005)
Panopticon 2xLP / CD (Ipecac, 2004 / Trust No One, 2004 / Daymare, 2004 / Robotic Empire, 2005)
Clearing The Eye DVD (Ipecac, 2006)
In The Fishtank 14 (With Aerogramme) CD-Single (In The Fishtank, 2006)
In The Absence Of Truth 2xLP / CD (Conspiracy, 2006 / Robotic Empire, 2006 / Daymare, 2006)
Shades Of The Swarm 12xLP (Conspiracy + Robotic Empire, 2008)
Wavering Radiant CD / 2xLP (Conspiracy, 2009 / Ipecac, 2009 / Daymare, 2009)
Selected Compilation Tracks:
“Hive Destruction” on Manifest(o) – An Infernal Racket Sampler (Infernal Racket, 1999)
“Red Sea” on This Changes Everything (Second Nature, 2000)
“Backlit” on Music With Latitude (Southern, 2004)
“Boris” on We Reach: The Music Of Melvins (Fractured Transmitted Recording Company, 2005)
“Dulcinea” on We Got Actions Too (Southern, 2006)
“Grinning Mouths” on Ex Drummer (PIAS, 2007)
“Not In Rivers, But In Drops” on Getting To Know You…An Introduction To Ipecac Recordings (Ipecac, 2007)
“Altered Course (Live)” on Static Migration: Mare Nero 60,000 Mile Of Arteries (Static Migration, 2007)