Isis - Holy Tears (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Holy Tears (2008)


Isis's first ever single is Holy Tears, the title track of which comes from 2006's In the Absence of Truth. The album received mostly positive reviews; personally, I thought it was a bit of a step back from 2004's usually massive and enthralling Panopticon. However, "Holy Tears" was admittedly one of its stronger songs.

Like most singles, Holy Tears isn't an essential or expansive release, but it does a decent job delivering an EP that hovers around the song. It comes in a digipak with creepy artwork: a closeup of a bloodshot eye stretched across the front and back panels.

Included is the original version in the lead spot in all its seven-minute glory; Aaron Turner can alternately be found singing in his nasal, latter-era style (which, at least to me, sounds like the dude from 311, and I'm not alone) and in his forecful, low-end bellow over dirgy proceedings.

Next is "Not in Rivers, But in Drops," a collaborative remix version by Melvins and British dark ambient musician Lustmord. It pares down the original (which was 7:48) to under four minutes here. Based on what he's known for (and I've admittedly never heard it), Lustmord's touches seem to come out more here, with swirling and ambient layers battling each other throughout. A couple moments do seem stunted, but the remixers did a decent job of condensing the band's sound into one punchy, compact(er) jab.

Last is a live version of the title track, recorded at the 10/6/06 date of their Tool tour at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, which closed their set that night. It's a fair recording, which eliminates most of the crowd noise and allowing certain portions at ideal moments.

There's also a video for "Holy Tears" you'll witness on the enhanced portion, though it's also available online. Watching a guy fall from a building for almost two minutes gets boring quick, but the part of the video where you watch his embryonic state develop is pretty cool.

Some lyrics for either song would have been nice, or even a legit B-side, but overall, Holy Tears does an average if not minimal job of highlighting one of the few highlights on an album that had some of the band's best artwork to date but also some of their more middling tunes.