Isis is a monolithic, breathing, dense, incredibly spiritual musical experience that, while rooted in heavy metal and the punk/hardcore aesthetic, relies just as heavily on ambience, atmosphere, and tone as it does complexity, aggressiveness, and raw emotion. Not so much a band per se as a collective, the artisans who comprise the Boston quintet paint vivid and surreal conceptual compositions layering feedback, power chords, intense quiet/loud dynamics, and vocals that are often shouted, more often screamed, and occasionally sung. Isis was formed by Hydra Head Records owner Aaron Turner, who was hoping to take the minimalism of Earth and the Melvins and combine it with the experimentalism of Godflesh, backed by the depth and power of the bands most obvious musical counterpart, Neurosis. It was the union of Turner with bassist Jeff Caxide and powerhouse drummer Aaron Harris that formed the core of the Isis project in 1997. The band recorded a demo that year with guitarist Randy Larson, garnering the attention of Escape Artist Records. In 1998, together with noisemaker Chris Mereshuk on keyboards/samples and minus Larson, the band recorded The Mosquito Control EP at God City Studios, establishing Isis immediately upon its release as a band with artistic vision, conceptual foresight, and tremendous power. Former Cast Iron Hike guitarist Mike Gallagher joined the band in time for a tour with Converge and Cavity, just as Mereshuk exited and was replaced by Agorophobic Nosebleeds Jay Randall. In 1999, Isis released an EP called The Red Sea through Second Nature on both 8 vinyl and CD. Randall exited the group and was replaced by Cliff Meyer, who also plays a bit of guitar. Isis subsequently toured with Cave In that summer, and supported Neurosis — who had become admirers — that winter. In 2000, Isis produced their masterwork, the Celestial opus, which builds upon the promise of the EP releases while expanding the bands scope to include more warmth, melody, and openness than its decidedly brutal predecessors. The band toured relentlessly in its support with the likes of the Dillinger Escape Plan, Candiria, and Burn It Down, releasing a follow-up of material from the Celestial sessions through Neurosis own Neurot Recordings in 2001. Dubbed SGNL>05, the Neurot EP picks up the conceptual and musical threads of Celestial and expands upon them, complete with a remix by one of the bands heroes, Godflesh electronic wizard Justin Broadrick. Their 2002 album Oceanic became their breakthrough record, receiving positive reviews across the board. Two years later the follow-up, Panopticon, appeared with the two-CD remix collection Oceanic: Remixes/Reinterpretations landing in 2005. In 2006 the band collaborated with the Scottish pop band Aereogramme for the 14th volume of the Konkurrent labels In the Fishtank series before they released their next full-length, In the Absence of Truth.