Isis – Button Factory 23/10/09

This punter is speaking only on behalf of himself but there seemed to be an stirring aura about The Button Factory for Isis. Simply because, well it’s Isis. After dropping a remarkable album this year what fan wouldn’t be stoked about this gig?

The evening’s support band comes in the form Clare’s black metal experimentalists Altar Of Plagues who, like a hybrid of Isis and Wolves In The Throne Room, will have gained a fan or two after their set. Lit only by the Button Factory’s most meagre of lights the band play in near darkness, creating an oddly charming surrounding as blast beats, shrieks and gorgeous crescendos are created. If you haven’t checked these guys out yet, than you owe to yourself to do so, they’re definitely one of the most interesting acts this island has produced for quite some time. Their debut album, White Tomb is out now, pick it up.

But as much as a delight as that was it can’t be even remotely compared to the maelstrom delivered by Isis.

The band serenely walk on stage and the edgily tranquil intro of “Hall Of The Dead” kicks this off and serves as a calm before the storm before Aaron Turner’s earth shaking bellow enters. It’s then followed by the soaring “Stone To Wake A Serpent”.

The new material from the year’s shimmering opus Wavering Radiant takes up a sizeable chunk of the night’s set list.

The delicate balance of loud uncompromising rancour and pliable hypnotising passages is kept from start to finish. “Ghost Key” epitomises this with a spellbinding delivery, while “20 Minutes / 40 Years” splendidly scales to its deafening and bold climax.

There’s a shift to a mood of more melody on, the only airing from the In The Absence Of Truth album, “Dulcinea”. Turner swings more to his harmonious side but as the number rises and rises the all too familiar growl returns. By “Dulcinea”’s conclusion all 5 members are fully engaged in a frenzied melee of amazement.

“Backlit” from the imposing Panopticon album is the only other non WR track that gets an outing in the set list. It maintains the searing air of the evening. What Isis can do would be the envy of many a band. Their remarkable credentials on record are only augmented live. Their body of work has a whole new layer applied, it’s engrossing.

To initially close the show is none other than Wavering Radiant’s closer. “Threshold Of Transformation” is satisfyingly crushing and inexorably ascends to magnificent heights that can’t be put into words. Fortunately, that doesn’t entirely spell the end. An encore of pre Wavering Radiant tunes like “Carry” dazzlingly wraps this gig up.

On this night in Dublin’s Button Factory, Isis fluently asserted their unique and unrivalled ability to astound and overwhelm. They couldn’t come back sooner.


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