From the intriguing opening sound textures of SGNL>05, one wouldn't imagine that this gentle stream would evolve into a grand work of nu-metal mastery. Here, Isis weaves a beautiful tapestry of lilted piano set deep into the mix of a windswept field recording, but it doesn't take long for the band to turn the world on its ear. SGNL>05, a five-track EP, is the extension of the earlier Celestial record. Lead vocalist and guitarist Aaron Turner's growl may sound cliché in this form, but SGNL>05 quickly proves that it isn't the work of some bored, depressed high school band. Rather, it's an intensely emotional and intelligent piece of theatrical metal music. Tribal influences leak in on "Divine Mother" as the sounds are drawn out in epic proportions. Synthesizers flit about in the background and noise paints the rest of the very stormy picture. The seething guitars of Turner and Mike Gallagher trudge onward in a jarring, direct, and tight fashion. Though tracks like "Beneath Below" and "Constructing Towers" do tend to get a bit repetitive, the album on the whole is quite succinct and impacting. Rarely do industrial rock records take listeners on such a journey as this. Sounds ebb and flow, creating lush textures, only to be met with the most excruciating instrumentation that eventually culminates in a beautiful, multi-layered ambient recording. That final track, a remix of the original "Celestial (Signal Fills the Void)" by Justin K. Broadrick (of Godflesh), serves as a darkly mechanical ending to this fine EP.
by Ken Taylor