"some music was meant to stay underground..."


Formed: 1997
From: Boston, MA, United States
Last Known Status: Active


Isis is a doom-fusion group from Los Angeles, CA (US). They have borrowed from and helped to evolve a sound pioneered by the likes of Neurosis and Godflesh, creating heavy music consisting of lengthy songs that focus on repetition and evolution of structure. As such, a great range of musical labels are used to describe their sound, including avant-garde metal, post-metal and experimental rock.

Several sessions of experimentation in origin town 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 [Aaron Harris, Jeff Caxide, Aaron Turner, and Chris Mereschuk]. 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." 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 Mike 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.

Turner has gone on record saying "I like the idea of preserving at least a little shred of mystery and making the band to be more an entity—without hopefully sounding too pretentious — as a work of art [than a traditional rock band]".There is a definite attitude that art and music are interchangeable and synonymous to the band; he feels that "the songwriting and the artwork come from the same place".This logic relates to visual and aural aspects as well as overt intellectualisation, through literary references and driving philosophies.Books such as Don Quixote, House of Leaves, Labyrinths and the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham all play a role in shaping the themes of Isis' releases.

There is an overt intention of progressing heavy music present in Isis' output; a desire to further the intellectual cause that pushes them forward.This is evident within the clear progression of their sound from release to release, their influence on heavy music, and their acceptance in art circles where other metal bands are not so readily embraced. Their stated goal is "not to break away from the scene that [they] came from, but to expand upon it". Publications such as Terrorizer attest to how Turner has completed his goal, explaining that "Aaron Turner has loosened hardcore from its geographical roots, and in the process created an intimate, yet immeasurable vision all of his own". Turner has complained that "metal in general has long been unjustly maligned as solely the province of knuckle-dragging meatheads...That said, there's never been a group of musicians like there is now, who are helping to advance the form."

Latest Isis News

Below is our complete Isis news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Kaura Added To Tool's Sacremento Show

Berkeley based rock band, Kaura have been added to TOOL's Sacramento show on September 2nd with ISIS at the Sleep Train Amphitheater.

The band recently got back from traveling to India, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, Bali, and Laos collecting instruments to incorporate into their melodic and epic rock sound. They documented the entire trip on video, which was recently released on DVD. A Perfect Circle's Paz Lenchantin played on the bands self-released EP last year and they are about to begin negotiations with record labels for the release of their first album. You can learn more about Kaura and hear their music at their MySpace page.

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Isis Comment On Upcomming Tour With Tool

ISIS frontman Aaron Turner isn't stupid. He knows his band is certain to get booed by TOOL fans when ISIS head out on the road with Maynard James Keenan's collection of avant-metal cohorts. But that's not going to stop Turner from trying to open up a few minds.

"You're bound to have a larger meathead contingency in your audience when you open for a band as big as TOOL, and we're very aware of the fact that a good portion of the people at these shows will be bored to tears or perhaps even angry while we're playing," said Turner, who also owns Los Angeles-based Hydra Head Records. "There's also a good chance a lot of 'em won't even be there and will be finding their seats as we're finishing up our set. In one way, we're really excited about it, but in another way, we're realistic about it too.

"TOOL are definitely the biggest band we've ever toured with, but I don't feel like it's ultimately going to change things for us that much," he continued. "The hope is that we'll gain some new fans. But there's no delusions that by doing this tour we're going to come out on the other side being a much more popular band. Most smaller bands that open for a bigger band are likely to gain some new fans, but they're just as likely to be heckled off the stage."

ISIS — who got together more than eight years ago — are a monstrous, thick and spiritual assemblage of musical experimentalists whose sound contains elements of heavy metal, punk and hardcore. Their complex compositions make them a perfect fit for the TOOL trek, which winds down September 29 in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

"We've done tours with a wide array of bands with the intent of trying to capture a really eclectic audience," Turner said. "I think that any band that has a style even slightly outside the box or a little bit difficult in some way or another, those types of bands — which I see ISIS as being — are more likely to garner a really hard-core following, because it takes a person who's willing to dig beneath the surface to find out about these bands and get intimate with their music. That kind of listener's more prone to a more devoted, almost slavish obsession with a band."

While on the road with TOOL, ISIS will be promoting a pair of new releases: the band's debut DVD, "Clearing the Eye," which will be in stores September 26, and In the Absence of Truth, the follow-up to 2004's Panopticon, slated for release this Halloween. ("We picked a good date to release a heavy metal record, I guess," Turner laughed.) The DVD contains live footage the band started culling back in 2000. "It's the stuff we felt was most representative of us as a band and our evolution over the last few years," the singer said.

Releasing a provocative, cerebral metal album at this time is a smart move for ISIS. With records from MASTODON, SUNN 0))), BOTCH and THE MARS VOLTA (not a metal band, but certainly an outfit metalheads revere) on the not-so-distant horizon, Turner said he considers ISIS part of a movement, perhaps even a revival of progressive rock and metal.

"Metal has been alive and well in the underground forever, and occasionally it pops its head up into the mainstream," he said. "Right now is just one of those times when it's got some more mainstream visibility. We're not ashamed to take advantage of that. But that's not to say that we're compromising ourselves or doing things differently than we have in the past. This is what we like to do. If we can absorb some of the trickle-down from these other bigger bands that are getting noticed at the moment and turn new listeners on to what we're doing, we're certainly going to capitalize on that.

"We want to be the kind of band that demands a certain amount of attention to really grasp the full effect of what we're going for," he added. "The way we approach our writing and the way we record, we purposely bury a lot of elements deep in the mix, so it's like little subtleties and nuances that are unearthed after repeat listens."

After ISIS finish TOOL's North American trek, they'll probably head over to Europe with the band, again in a support role for a monthlong tour. Turner said ISIS also plan to travel to Japan and Australia for some live dates and are working on organizing a U.S. headlining run for either late fall or early 2007.

And believe it or not, ISIS may even have a new album already recorded, one that came together almost accidentally. The band has been rehearsing with Montreal producer/electronic musician Tim Hecker, who remixed several of ISIS' tracks for 2005's Oceanic: Remixes/Reinterpretations.

"We've been recording everything that we've been playing together," Turner said. "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."

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Isis Post New Track Online

new Isis track has been posted online and can be heard here. The song is taken from the groups new album "In The Absence Of Truth", which is due in store son October 31st through Ipecac and will feature the following tracks:
"Wrists Of Kings"
"Not In Rivers, But In Drops"
"Over Root And Thorn"
"1000 Shards"
"All Out Of Time, All Into Space"
"Holy Tears"
"Firdous E Bareen"
"Garden Of Light"

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Tool Announce More US Tour Dates, European Tour

Tool have added the following North American and European dates to their tour schedule, taking them almost to the end of 2006. Isis is to support Tool for most (if not all) of their US run, but it's unclear who will support them for the newly announced dates. The tour dates are as follows:

September 9th in Phoenix, AZ @ Cricket Pavilion
September 26th in Pittsburgh, PA @ Petersen Events Center
September 29th in Mansfield, MA @ Tweeter Center
September 30th in Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
October 2nd in Wilkes-Barre, PA @ Wachovia Arena
October 3rd in Manchester, CT @ TBA
October 5th in Hartford, CT @ Hartford Civic Center
October 6th in East Rutherford, NJ @ Continental Airlines Arena
October 7th in Wantagh, NY @ Nikon @ Jones Beach Theatre
November 3rd in Barcelona, SPA @ Badalona
November 4th in Madrid, SPA @ Palacio Vista Alegre
November 5th in Lisbon, POR @ Atlantic Pavilion
November 9th in Rotterdam, NET @ Ahoy
November 10th in Brussels, BEL @ Forest National
November 12th in Turin, ITA @ Palaisozaki
November 13th in Florence, ITA @ Nelson Mandela Forum
November 15th in Rimini, ITA @ Palasport
November 16th in Venice, ITA @ Palasport
November 18th in Munich, GER @ Zenith
November 19th in Vienna, AUT @ Stadthalle
November 24th in Manchester, UK @ Manchester Evening News Arena
November 25th in Glasgow, UK @ S.E.C.C.
November 27th in London, UK @ Wembley Arena
November 30th in Cardiff, UK @ Cardiff International Arena
December 1st in Nottingham, UK @ Nottingham Arena
December 3rd in Oberhausen, GER @ Konig-Pilsener Arena
December 4th in Leipzig, GER @ Leipzig Arena
December 5th in Stuttgart, GER @ Porsche Arena
December 7th in Lyon, FRA @ Halle Tony Garnier
December 8th in Nantes, FRA @ Zenith
December 10th in Paris, FRA @ Le Zenith
December 12th in Mannheim, GER @ Maimarkthalle
December 13th in Zurich, SWI @ Hallenstadion Zurich

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Isis Set To Release DVD

Isis will release their debut DVD, titled "Clearing The Eye," on September 26th through Ipecac Recordings.

The DVD features live performances from Isis shows at New York's CBGB's and The Troubadour in Hollywood. Also included in "Clearing The Eye" is a music video for "In Fiction," interactive photo galleries, a discography, and a "graphically rich" twenty-page booklet.

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Zombi Plan European, UK, and US Tours

ZOMBI will make its European tour debut playing as support to ISIS. ZOMBI will begin the tour with ISIS on July 17 in Amsterdam and conclude on July 22 in Birmingham, U.K. where the tour joins with the critically-acclaimed Supersonic Festival. Immediately following, ZOMBI will join with THRONES for an extended run in the United Kingdom and Belgium.

ZOMBI will also see the vinyl release of Surface To Air in Europe during this time courtesy of Hypertension Records (STARKWEATHER, AMEN RA). The LP release show for Surface To Air will take place on July 30 in Antwerpen, Belgium. ZOMBI’s Digitalis tour EP will also seeing a limited vinyl release in July via Static Records (ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE, TARENTEL).

The current listing of ZOMBI tour dates is as follows: More...

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Isis To Support Tool On U.S. Tour

Los Angeles, California-based experimental post-hardcore outfit ISIS will support TOOL on their fall 2006 U.S. tour. Confirmed dates are as follows:

Aug. 30 - Englewood, CO @ Coors Amphitheater
Sep. 01 - Las Vegas, NV @ Theater Under the Stars
Sep. 02 - Marysville, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheater
Sep. 03 - Oakland, CA @ Oakland Arena
Sep. 05 - Bakersfield, CA @ Rabobank Arena
Sep. 07 - Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
Sep. 11 - The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion
Sep. 12 - San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
Sep. 14 - Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
Sep. 15 - Kansas City, MO @ Kemper Arena
Sep. 16 - Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
Sep. 18 - Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
Sep. 21 - Columbus, OH @ Nationwide Arena
Sep. 22 - Detroit, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills
Sep. 23 - Toronto @ Molson Amphitheater
Sep. 25 - Cleveland, OH @ Wolstein Center
Sep. 28 - Camden, NJ @ Tweeter Center
Sep. 29 - Mansfield, MA @ Tweeter Center

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The Gersch Ready Debut Album

The Gersch, a stoner-sludge band led by Isis sampler/guitarist Cliff Meyer, will release their self-titled album on June 20. Tracks include "Listwish," "Magnificent Desolation" and "Residue Three." Another band Meyer is in, Red Sparowes, are currently working on their sophomore album, Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun,which is tentatively scheduled for release September 19.

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Robotic Empire Releasing Windmills By The Ocean LP

Robotic Empire will release the recently unearthed recording from Windmills By The Ocean. Featuring members of Isis, Red Sparowes, Anodyne, and 27, the album consists of "intense (mostly) instrumental stuff" and was recorded in 2003. The effort will see the light of day on August 8th in both CD and LP format.

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Isis To Enter Studio In June

Isis have confirmed the recording schedule for their next album. The group will record the effort in Los Angeles with producer/engineer Matt Bayles, who has recorded the band's last two albums. Tentative plans have the album hitting stores on Halloween. In related news, the group's upcoming DVD release is currently being edited and should hit streets late this summer.

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Zombi Issue "Live at SXSW" Internet-Only Release

ZOMBI has issued an internet-only live EP culled from its recent SXSW performance. The EP, simply titled Live at SXSW was recorded at the Sony Connect 'Vice Kills Texas II' SXSW party on Thursday, March 16th and features 'Digitalis' (from their upcoming record Surface To Air), 'Orion' (from their debut album Cosmos) and an as-yet-unrecorded improvised track 'Infinity'. This EP is available now at this location, exclusively via the Connect website.

ZOMBI has also unveiled an e-card for Surface To Air that features the studio audio for 'Digitalis' and the track 'Legacy'. The Surface To Air e-card can be accessed at this location. Surface To Air was recorded, mixed and mastered by the band (Steve Moore: bass/synth, A.E. Paterra: drums) over a five month span at the duo's Nightmare City Mobile Studios and is expected to see a May 2 North American release date (June 5 internationally).

In support of Surface To Air, ZOMBI has announced plans to tour with ISIS this spring. The tour with ISIS will begin on March 28th and extend into May and also include dates with Dalek and These Arms Are Snakes. A complete listing of ZOMBI tour dates is as follows: More...

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Zombi Complete New Album, Announce Tour w/ Isis

Pittsburgh instrumental duo ZOMBI has completed work on their new full-length album Surface To Air. Surface To Air, the follow-up to its full-length debut Cosmos, teems with the stirring, trance-inducing deluges of rhythm and sound the duo is renowned for. The album is set for a May 2nd North American release date via Relapse Records.

Surface To Air was recorded, mixed and mastered by the band (Steve Moore: bass/synth, A.E. Paterra: drums) over a five month span at the duo's Nightmare City Mobile Studios.

In support of Surface To Air, ZOMBI has announced plans to tour with ISIS this spring. The tour with ISIS will begin on March 28th and extend into May and also include dates with Dalek and These Arms Are Snakes. This follows up the band’s current tours with Orthrelm, The Apes and upcoming SXSW performance at the Relapse Records showcase.

A complete listing of ZOMBI tour dates is as follows: More...

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Isis Plan Spring US Tour

Isis have confirmed a handful of March, April, and May shows. Here's the latest:

3/29 Redding, CA @ The Dip w/ These Arms Are Snakes, Zombi
3/30 Portland, OR @ Loveland w/ These Arms Are Snakes, Zombi, more
3/31 Seattle, WA Neumo's Crystal Ball w/ These Arms Are Snakes, Zombi, more
4/2 Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall w/ These Arms Are Snakes, Zombi, more
4/6 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah w/ Zombi, more
4/8 Los Angeles, CA @ The Knitting Factory w/ Zombi, Butcher
4/28 Cleveland Heights, OH @ The Grog Shop w/ Dalek, Zombi, Russian Circles
4/30 Washington DC @ The Black Cat w/ Dalek, Zombi
5/2 Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar w/ Dalek, Zombi, Torche

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The Rise of Art-Metal

Jon Caramanica has written a surprisingly excellent article in the New York Times about the shift in metal and the rise of "art metal" and "post metal," the latter label I dislike more than the first. Here's an except to get you started:

You might not have known it from looking at the audience, but when the Chicago instrumental band Pelican performed at the Knitting Factory in late July, it was playing metal.

Instead of long hair and all-black outfits, the crowd was displaying the trappings of brainy, slightly nerdy indie rock. Young men wore artistically cropped hair and tight-legged jeans, and there was even a smattering of young women in librarian glasses and worn-out Chuck Taylor sneakers.

This is not your older brother's metal crowd. "I've been wearing my Def Leppard T-shirt on tour recently," said Laurent Lebec, a guitarist in Pelican and a fan of that archteypal 1980's metal band. "People come up to me and ask, 'Is that a joke?' I have to tell them that I don't wear T-shirts as a joke."

The particularly dark and aggressive strain of rock called heavy metal has been around for more than three decades. In that time, it has spawned a range of offshoots, but none have been as unlikely as the recent wave of bands using metal as a jumping-off point for a range of experimental styles, dabbling in free jazz, minimalist post-rock, noise and even modern classical music.

This is art-metal, a curious scene populated by a new generation of metal acolytes onstage and younger fans often unfamiliar with metal's headbanger heritage.

"Metal in general has long been unjustly maligned as solely the province of knuckle-dragging meatheads," said Aaron Turner, a founder of the influential Hydra Head Records, which has released three CD's by Pelican, including, recently, "The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw." "That said, there's never been a group of musicians like there is now, who are helping to advance the form."

Read the full article at New York Times.

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Isis Side Project News

Isis guitarist Mike Gallagher recently recorded a solo album under the moniker MGR, more details regarding that as they come. For now, it is said to feature "droning soundscapes, complimented by melancholy guitars and densely textured backgrounds..."

In related news, Isis` Live 2 effort will see a vinyl release as a gatefold 2xLP through Troubleman Unlimited in the coming months.

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Isis Tour Update

Boston based doomsters ISIS have posted the following update:

We hit the road on Friday, March 11, for a short string of US dates, and we hope you can make it out to a show or two. These will be our LAST shows in the US for some time, so if you wanna catch us live and you live any where near any of the upcoming dates, now is the time. In addition to being our last US shows for some time, we will also mention that we are playing some older material on this tour... not Red Sea or Mosquito Control old, but at least a few tracks from both Celestial and Oceanic, so if you`ve been missing the "old" us once again, now is the time.

After this brief tour, ISIS will be embarking on an European tour with JESU. For a complete list of live dates, visit the band's official website.

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Watch Isis' 'In Fiction' Video Online

Isis are out with the video to their new single 'In Fiction'. You can watch it online at Launch.com.

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Dysrhythmia Announce New Bassist

Philadelphia-based instrumental trio Dysrhythmia have announced the addition of bassist Colin Marston (also currently of Behold... The Arctopus), replacing Clayton Ingerson. Marston joins Dysrhythmia members Jeff Eber (drums) and Kevin Hufnagel (guitar).

Dysrhythmia will be teaming up with Isis and These Arms Are Snakes for a string of dates beginning December 3 at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA.

On the topic of the addition of Marston as well as the forthcoming live dates, Hufnagel stated, "We are psyched to be able to perform again so soon since the line-up change. Colin has been doing an amazing job learning the old material, and his contributions to the new Dysrhythmia songs have already been quite substantial."

Dysrhythmia tour dates:

Nov. 27 - New York, NY - Knitting Factory (w/ Early Man)
Dec. 02 - New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
Dec. 03 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East (w/ Isis, These Arms Are Snakes, Tim Hecker)
Dec. 04 - Binghamton, NY - Black Azul Studios (w/ Dance-A-Tron, If Man Is Five)
Dec. 05 - Philadelphia, PA - North Star (w/ Isis, These Arms Are Snakes)
Dec. 06 - Washington, DC - Black Cat (w/ Isis, These Arms Are Snakes)
Dec. 07 - Wilmington, NC - Soapbox Laundrolounge (w/ Gollum)
Dec. 08 - Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle (w/ Isis, These Arms Are Snakes)
Dec. 09 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn (w/ Isis, These Arms Are Snakes)
Dec. 10 - Richmond, VA - MacCormack's Irish Pub (w/ Black Heart Valentine)

Dysrhythmia's as-yet-untitled follow up to 2003's "Pretest" is expected to see a 2005 release date via Relapse.

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Isis Bring Their Panopticon To Canada

ChartAttack.com has posted the following article on Boston-based band Isis:

Isis always seem to have the coolest sonic goodies to dish out to their growing legion of fans. In the past year, the Boston metal quintet have released a whole whack of limited edition material that has been eagerly snapped up by music lovers across the globe. To date, they've put out a live CD entitled "Live 1" and the first three volumes of their "Oceanic" Remix 12-inches that feature artists such as Mike Patton, Tim Hecker and Dalek offering up their interpretations of all of the tracks from 2002's highly acclaimed "Oceanic" album. The fourth and final volume in the series should be available shortly.

2005 will see Isis heading to Japan in February with Converge and Mastodon. Shortly afterwards they'll embark on their first tour of Australia. Upon their return to the U.S., they're planning on playing a few domestic dates including a performance at SXSW before leaving for a six-week European tour. It's probably safe to assume that the guys will have a new selection of eBay-worthy items by the time these shows roll around.

Isis Canadian Tour Dates:

November 28 Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace
November 29 Ottawa, ON @ Babylon
November 30 Montreal, QC @ El Salon

Read the full article at Chart Attack.

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Isis Vinyl Releases Delayed

Isis' Oceanic Remixes: Volume 4 and Panopticon 2xLP releases have been rescheduled for a January 04 release date through Robotic Empire.

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