Seven years ago PtheStudP called me up, urging me to head down to San Antonio’s goth club The White Rabbit to check out the progressive metal band ISIS, who I had never heard of at the time. I scoffed at his request, lacking any interest in sitting at a metal show. At the time I didn’t care much for anything under the “metal” umbrella, but much like the song structures of ISIS, my taste has evolved and ventured more and more into darker realms in the past few years. Looking back now I curse that night for not trusting my friend.
A mere two years later, I would finally give the Boston natives a chance. The basketball team I coached had just lost a game where the ref’s heavy handed officiating swayed the game so much that it left me with only five players (three fouled out). Driving home, confused and furious, I threw the untouched CD-R of ISIS’s “Panopticon” in, feeling maybe metal would suit me at that moment. What I quickly discovered was that this wasn’t simply a metal album. The dramatic interludes, complex chord progressions, and syncopated drum beats left me in a caustic confusion. I still remember that drive home, every stop light, every turn, and most importantly, every somber note of the haunting rage blasting out my speakers. By the time I put my car in park, I understood what set ISIS apart from the rest of the metal world.
Over the next five years, the opportunity to see ISIS in a near by venue never resurfaced. When the news came out that the influential band would be breaking up after this summer’s tour, PtheStudP came up with the perfect plan for remedying the concern that we’d never get to see them live: we’d fly to Boston to see them play in their hometown at the end of their tour.
Our entire week in Boston was amazing thanks to some great Bostonians who were willing to help out a couple of prog-metalheads, and the final Boston performance by ISIS would surpass expectation. Here is a clip of them performing one of my favorite songs “Ghost Key” near the end of their set. Although they will be missed, I’m happy to say I at least have the memory of this show to keep with me forever.
For some reason people from Boston have huge heads, which made video-taping the show a bit challenging: