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Isis: Oceanic

The unfortunately named band’s genre-defining second LP.

Their 2000 full-length debut album Celestial marked them as a major post-metal band, but this 2002 follow-up introduced Isis to the progressive audience.

The Boston/LA band brought in more ambient passages, a more exhaustive musical approach to augment their initial metal heritage. A concept album based on finding and losing love, and ending in tragedy, Oceanic is dark, using scathing parts sparingly, maximising the impact. At the time, many considered this a leap forward for the band and also for this type of progressive metal. Of course, what they pioneered 12 years ago has become all too commonplace now, but even allowing for the surfeit of bands now in this vein this still holds the attention. This remastered version brings out some of the nuances that were a little hidden first time around. You can hear the improvement on The Beginning And The End, which has always been regarded as the outstanding track. But this remix also enhances the lengthy Weight and the climactically depressing Hym. There’s also new artwork, to add to the feel of this being a different record. Leaving a real impact, this is a creative and severe landmark album.