Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Isis’s four previous full-lengths have clear story arcs, but Wavering Radiant’s themes are open to interpretation, giving it added appeal. Close to perfect.
  2. As snobbish as that may sound, you have to lose yourself in Wavering Radiant to hear and feel the big picture.
  3. Whether trading in power chords or atmospheric overlays, the band excels at transforming emotions into thrilling sounds, palpable awe, and tangible dread. This is metal played at its arresting best.
  4. Easily the band's most accessible effort, hipsters and headbangers will likely agree it's also their most intricately imagined.
  5. It’s a proper album, in the sense that a divide is made at four of seven, the title track a segue between halves – its makers clearly bear download culture little respect, constructing their latest so that it’s best experienced as a whole, bridging arrangements as vital as the blustering bombast and constitutional inflections of grandly designed standout pieces.
  6. Wavering Radiant works as a single piece of music rather than a series of songs, and it is cohesively played by an ensemble that is more interested in the dark majesty of metal than its potential for expressing anger.
  7. 80
    Songs are still suite-sized, but this is the toughest and catchiest Isis record since their 1999 debut full-length, "Celestial."
  8. Though the length of the songs can prove to be daunting, the album is arguably one of Isis' finest moments. [Jun 2009, p.105]
  9. There are still the Cro-Magnon howls and monumental riffing matched against maudlin post-rock workouts that you expect from the Californian five-piece, but the songs seem more considered, focused and, well, catchy than before.
  10. To attempt to rank Wavering Radiant within the Isis discography is to miss this point. Fans of earlier releases will likely be disappointed but if this record proves anything, it's that Isis are a fully-functioning organism, slowly moving towards something not yet known by the listener and perhaps not even the band themselves.
  11. Wavering Radiant is a testament to ISIS’ ability to stare into the face of adversity, unflinching, and deliver one of the finest albums of its career.
  12. Wavering Radiant is strong enough on musical merit that decade-strong devotees deservedly ought to join new converts in welcoming the latest Isis album into the world.
  13. The output of Isis, a Los Angeles band often filed under the subcategory of post-metal, upholds a deliberative truce between brute physicality and moody rumination. Wavering Radiant, the group’s impressive new album, satisfies both sides in a way that suggests a balance of prior achievements.
  14. It probably will never be regarded in the same light as Isis’s first three albums (the older a metal band gets, the better their early albums become in the minds of fans), but Wavering Radiant exudes a level of grace that could only come from true masters of the sound, further proof that while they played a large role in setting the template, they also reserve the right to reshape it whenever they damn well please.
  15. This is perhaps the first Isis album since Oceanic that both demands and inspires repeat listens. It might very well be Isis’s best work to date. At the very least, Wavering Radiant affirms that we still have good reason to follow the band's every move.
  16. All of this should read like the ingredients of a truly brilliant album. And perhaps on vinyl it is, but the mastering of Wavering Radiant‘s digital format is atrocious, as heavily brickwalled and distorted as Metallica’s criminal "Death Magnetic" (2008).
  17. Some bands use studio trickery like an instrument, but Isis' straightforward tools avoid baroqueness even when the band is throwing deep.
  18. It’s testament to their power that an average Isis album is still pretty good.
  19. 60
    Theirs is a sophisticated, finely nuanced sound, lynchpin Aaron Turner's vocals notwithstanding. [Jun 2009, p.88]
  20. Only the very dedicated need apply. [Jun 2009, p.119]
  21. If the too-often twinned strands of listener preference can be unwound, hopefully it will be remembered as the most-heard Isis album, not the greatest.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Oct 1, 2010
    after the atmopsheric sludge that they perfected three albums prior, continuing along that path would have been a sub-par move from a vastly superior band. And Isis just can't have that. Apparently, they discovered that subtle nuances can be just as effective as the walls of sound they are accustomed to, and the combination of these two factors make for the most interesting listen yet. Small, "tool-isms" stand alongside the mammoth riffs of Aaron Turner and co.
    Also, Aaron's vocals are spot on throughout all of this record, balancing his shouts with the cleans perfectly.
    The best Isis record ever. What a send off.
    Full Review »
  2. ChampiodiPi
    Jul 14, 2009
    When a band's philosophy centres around the same basic premise, one in which they are encouraged to retread and retry, you feel that the band is desperately treading this same path hoping that luck instead of providence, that hope instead of prudence sees all the peices fit and that "elusive masterpiece" may be stumbled upon. There is nothing in this world as loathsome as try-hards with scant ability hoping to get lucky, and this is where we find Isis. Never managing to top their début with the same trite idea and same conventions and structure appearing again and again. Isis are the proverbial Sisyphus curse, condemning their fan base to endure the same nonsense for all eternity but ironically lap it all up oblivious to the bands all too obvious flaws. Full Review »
  3. KC
    May 19, 2009
    Awesome band. Remind at times of Frodus, Helmet, and Tool. I'm new to Isis, but have been quickly hooked by them. Excellent musicians writing intriguing and rocking songs. I don't mind the growl at all, as some reviewers have ragged on; it doesn't seem affected or cliche, but more sincere and tastefully used between actual singing, which itself is a nice compliment to the music. Full Review »