Isis, 'Wavering Radiant' (Ipecac)

Critical Mass
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by Joe Gross

Isis' last few albums -- which weaved between heavy ambience and ambient heft, usually erring on the side of spaciness -- made the Los Angeles–based band absurdly influential post-metal icons. But here, they temper the sun-staring and remember to thrash now and then for the brainy geeks who have been down since day one. Songs are still suite-sized, but this is the toughest and catchiest Isis record since their 1999 debut full-length, Celestial. Here, they soar and attack in equal measure: widescreen escapism for an age of diminished expectations.

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