Red-eyed ambient metal droning

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Isis – Panopticon

Operating at the rarely-explored mid-point between My Bloody Valentine and Slayer, Isis are part of a new wave of underground metal acts who reject the shirts-off sword’n’sorcery posturing of old in favour of producing distended but crushingly heavy soundscapes. Their third album purports to be a concept record about surveillance culture, but how we’re supposed to know this is anyone’s guess: despite quotations from Foucault on the inner sleeve and its general air of unease, Panopticon consists largely of instrumental chunks of Mogwai-style post-rock that those with long attention spans will find utterly rewarding.

PAT LONG