ISIS guitarist/vocalist, Aaron Turner, once described his group's sound as "avant-garde, drone-oriented Rock." Don't like that description? How about another Turner summary? "(Our sound is) heavy, atmospheric, droning, post-epic, post-Metal, shoegazer blah blah blah." Yeah, about that covers it.
ISIS was born out of frustration. "None of us were happy with what we were doing musically at the time," stated Turner. So why not start a new band?
Isis is the name of the ancient Egyptian goddess who was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that the group's full-length '00 debut was titled "Celestial." The set built a national Metal/Hardcore audience.
Two years later, "Oceanic" veered toward post-Rock and ambient music. Turner has called the work their "quintessential album." It earned album-of-the-year accolades from underground Metalcore publications. At this point, ISIS moved from Boston to L.A.
"Panopticon" continued the post-Rock sound. The '04 album reached #47 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums charts - their first entry on any mainstream chart. The title referred to "a prison so constructed that the inspector can see each of the prisoners at all times, without being seen."
Clearing The Eye, a DVD documenting performances over the past five years, and the group's their fourth full-length album, "In the Absence of Truth," landed in '06. The latter peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. As a result, the group landed an opening slot with Tool.
"This is the first type of thing we've done of this magnitude so that's a little bit daunting but also exciting," said Turner. "We're all very curious to see what transpires and how it all goes."
The group's rising profile led to some uncomfortable moments. "We never imagined that ISIS would become as successful or as popular as it has," claimed Turner. "[Fans] taking a deeply personal interest in who I am, it fucking freaks me out. And I really do feel like sometimes when I get approached, I'm retreating into my shell."
ISIS won the "Best Underground Metal Act" honor at Revolver's '09 Golden Gods Awards ceremony. And their fifth studio album, "Wavering Radiant," was released a short time later becoming the group's most commercially successful release. The album cracked the Billboard 200, a first for the group, peaking at #98. It also went to #10 on the Indie Album Chart.
Despite this success (or because of it), ISIS decided to call it quits the following year. "(We have) done everything we wanted to do, said everything we wanted to say," the band wrote in a statement. "(We did not want to) "push past the point of a dignified death."
Of course, the group ended before the name ISIS became associated with an international terrorist organization.
2006 In The Absence Of Truth
2009 Wavering Radiant