While the actual worth of these type of retrospectives is questionable for casual listeners, Temporal is a real treasure trove for die hard Isis fans. This box set contains two CDs and one DVD full of obscure demos, alternate versions and unreleased songs, including “Temporal” and an acoustic version of “20 Minutes/40 Years.”
The first album contains mainly demo versions of songs, including “Threshold Of Transformation,” “False Light” and “Grey Divide,” but it’s the second album which contains the most interesting material for me personally. Isis’ interpretations of “Hand Of Doom” (Black Sabbath) and “Streetcleaner” (Godflesh) are intense and spot on and the two songs off the Melvins/Isis split LP, namely “Way Through Woven Branches” and “Pliable Foe” can easily hold their own against any other song from their long and distinguished discography. The remix versions of “Not In Rivers, But In Drops” and “Holy Tears” are interesting, but they don’t have much to add to the original versions.
The DVD of this box set contains video clips from songs like “In Fiction,” “Holy Tears” and “20 Minutes/40 Years.” It even contains a previously unreleased video clip of “Pliable Foe.” A very nice gesture to the fans indeed!.
There’s one thing I miss though, and that’s a sort of documentary in which the former Isis band members talk about the highs and the lows in their career and what impact their music had on the band and artists around them. That truly would have been the icing on the proverbial cake.
Temporal is a very fascinating journey through the Isis vaults. It may not be the most interesting release for the uninitiated, but for true Isis fans it’s a worthy addition to their collection. Rumor has it there’s way more unreleased material that will see the light of day sooner or later. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for even more retrospective releases.
(released November 6, 2012 on Ipecac Records)