The panoptic eye

Isis started out as an ultra heavy metal band. Down-tuned riffs trudged along at speeds that could only be described as glacial. As time moved on Isis became a whole different animal, trading in their slow dissonant riffs for their current post-rock meets heavy metal sound. Isis really broke out of their mold with 2002’s Oceanic, the record heralded the new Isis, heavy and melodic, completely expansive, in short a modern metal masterpiece. Isis’ next full-length, 2004’s Panopticon explored melody and atmosphere even further. Using the ebb-and-flow technique to build tension and suspense, the album once again proved Isis the masters of the post-metal scene.

Now after numerous tours and live releases, Isis are ready to play new material on their tour that comes to Portland March 30 at the Loveland. Hearing Isis play their music live will sound almost exactly the same as you would hear on their albums, and that is not a problem at all. Their music fits well into the live concert format, engaging and loud, massive and moving, a truly awesome experience. Also playing will be These Arms Are Snakes and Zombi. Both bands should complement Isis’ sound and live show without being musically similar in any really obvious manner.

These Arms Are Snake explore all the idiosyncrasies of the post-hardcore sound. The Snakes use snarling and sneering vocals to great effect, along with mathy guitar wanderings and hammering bass grooves that gives them a truly distinct sound. Where Isis are drawn out and measured, the Snakes are frantic and crazy. Electronic bashing and guitar destruction are to be expected – don’t miss it.

Zombi are of a completely different ilk. Zombi make music that is heavily influenced by horror movie soundtracks, especially those by Goblin. The music is composed almost entirely of synthesizers, with a backbeat provided by a fairly standard rock drummer. Zombi played a show at the beginning of March in Portland and left me a little unimpressed. This was caused mainly by their extremely short set time compared to the 20-plus minutes it took them to set up. Do they really need that many synths? Hopefully on this tour with Isis they will play more of their rocked-out songs and for longer because they really are a good band.


Thursday, Mar. 30 at Loveland: Isis, Zombi, These Arms Are Snakes