Isis | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Isis fans have a happy autumn ahead--the new In the Absence of Truth comes out on Ipecac at the end of October, and later this month the band is releasing both a collaboration with Aereogramme (for Konkurrent's "In the Fishtank" series) and its debut DVD, Clearing the Eye (Ipecac). More like clearing the vaults, I'd say--alongside the dense and dreamy music video and dark and devastating live footage there's an exhaustive photo gallery. But did I mention the live footage? Often bathed in eerie blue light, the band plays mostly songs from its two previous albums, Panopticon and Oceanic, with a ritualistic attention to detail and an energy so focused it's a little scary; I acclimated to the performances the same way your eyes might adjust to a blacked-out street, but I can't decide if they were pulling me into the screen or slowly emerging from it. Though In the Absence of Truth is ornate and knotty rather than towering and epic, it maintains a certain continuity with its predecessors. Like them it's not a hit-you-between-the-eyes kind of album, but rather a conceptually playful Borgesian puzzle-labyrinth that takes time to solve--and never lets you feel certain you've come to the right conclusion. Tool headlines. Mon 9/18, 8 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $45-$59.50. All ages.

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