By now all of should know who Isis is and what to expect from them in terms of their music output. A good number of you are probably familiar with Aereogramme - for those of you not, they're a Scottish band that mixes punishing metal with melodic moments and alt-rock vocals. So what's the deal with this In the Fishtank album? Well the series is actually a really intriguing idea curated by Konkurrent Records in which they invite "musicians to whom they feel [are] strongly related to record. They are given two days studio time and freedom to do whatever they like musically." The collaboration between Isis and Aereogramme is the fourteenth volume in the series.
For their Fishtank endeavor, Isis and Aereogramme laid down three songs. Because these songs were written and performed by nine individuals from two different bands, musically it is nearly impossible to identify exactly who is responsible for what. But, as a whole, the music here is quite good and all should be commended for their contributions, whatever they may be.
"Low Tide," a song that clocks in at nearly ten minutes, is the first arrangement of the unified bands. Musically the members of Isis and Aereogramme have written a stunning composition that is quite reminiscent of the recent Isis effort, Panopticon. It's opens with a relaxing mood filled with soft drum touches and interweaving guitar melodies. At about the two-and-half minute mark, the dynamics of the song become livelier, yet still rather reserved. Over the course of the song they move through a variety of sequences accented by a mixture of droning and prog-influenced guitars. The vocals on this song are very soothing; Aereogramme vocalist Craig B.'s voice is sweet as can be. His melodies remind of Josh Coon of Dolly Trauma, and yes, at times, Maynard James Keenan.
"Delial" is a much shorter piece, clocking it at under four minutes. But what it lacks in length it makes up for in intensity. The song is a visceral onslaught that harkens back to The Mosquito Control. The song opens with a thundering arrangement of basslines that sets the tone for the rest of the song to come. Isis frontman Aaron Turner lays down some "clear" vocals in the first minute and a half; then we hit a small bridge where we hear eerie voices swirling around us - perhaps it is The Others? Turner then unleashes a haunting scream as the song hits its heaviest moment before slowly easing its way down.
"Stolen" rounds out In the Fishtank 14. The song is the softest song of the three, but at the same time it is the busiest. In addition to the standard instrumentation, there are a lot of guitar looping effects and electronic elements being used. It owes a lot to the ambient world with its tepid guitars and layering of electronic sequences. "Stolen" is a great ending to a fantastic project from the fusion of many minds.
Konkurrent has a really good thing going with the In the Fishtank project. These two artists are definitely among the bigger names that have been involved alongside besides Sonic Youth and The Black Heart Procession. It will be interesting to see what kind of artists the label gets for their next number. As for the bands involved here: I'm anxiously awaiting the release of Isis' In the Absence of Truth; Aereogramme's last release Seclusion was decent, I'm sure I'll check out whatever they churn out next.
8.5 / 10
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