Celestial (Isis album)

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Isis Celestial.jpg
Studio album by ISIS
Released April 3, 2000
Recorded January–February 2000
Genre Post-metal,[1] sludge metal
Length 51:58
Label Escape Artist
Hydra Head
Ipecac (reissue)
Producer Isis, Matt Bayles
ISIS chronology
Sawblade EP
Re-release cover
The cover of Ipecac Recordings' 2013 re-release
The cover of Ipecac Recordings' 2013 re-release

Celestial is the debut album by American post-metal band ISIS, released in 2000 by Escape Artist and Hydra Head Records. It is their third solo release and first full length.

A year later, Isis released SGNL>05, an EP designed to act as an extension to Celestial; its tracks were all directly culled from the Celestial recording sessions.[2] Frontman Aaron Turner describes them as being “part of the same whole”, separated from each other because releasing a double album for the group's first full-length may have been overbearing for listeners.[3]

In addition to the regular CD and vinyl LP editions, Celestial is available in a double release, coupled with its sister EP, SGNL>05.[4] On June 5, 2013, it was announced that Celestial would be re-issued by Ipecac Recordings with new artwork from Turner, as well as the audio having been recently remastered by James Plotkin.[5]


Celestial and SGNL>05 reintroduce the control tower and female character themes; specifically, a central "mother" tower ("Celestial (The Tower)", "Divine Mother"), which is built ("Constructing Towers"), decayed ("Deconstructing Towers"), and finally crumbles ("Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)" which isn't featured until their SGNL>05 EP). As well, the SGNL theme is introduced ("SGNL>01" through "SGNL>05 (Final Transmission)"), and the mosquito (Mosquito Control) is linked through the artwork on both releases.[original research?]

Turner has acknowledged that the album deals with the erosion of privacy as technology advances, in a similar vein to 2004's Panopticon; however, he states that the theme is dealt with in a “more primitive way” on Celestial.[6] Towers are described as ‘thematic’ material by Decibel's Joe Gross.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[8]
Stylus A[9]
The Line of Best Fit 8.5/10[10]
PopMatters 7/10[11]
Scene Point Blank 9/10 stars[12]
Exclaim! 8/10[13]

Celestial was named the 53rd-finest metal record of the decade by Decibel, stating that "it's seen as a transitional record between the band's early work and the post-metal benchmarks such as Oceanic, but Celestial holds up in ways different from their later work [...] the elements of the greatness are present, but rawer, more direct."[7] Rock Sound placed it at #3 in their rundown of their top albums of 2001.[14] William York, writing for allmusic, described the album as Isis' best, and argues that the record needs to be “given time” – that it eventually develops an “almost epic feel”.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Isis.

No. Title Length
1. "SGNL>01" 0:55
2. "Celestial (The Tower)" 9:42
3. "Glisten" 6:35
4. "Swarm Reigns (Down)" 6:02
5. "SGNL>02" 0:51
6. "Deconstructing Towers" 7:30
7. "SGNL>03" 0:35
8. "Collapse and Crush" 5:55
9. "C.F.T. (New Circuitry and Continued Evolution)" 5:43
10. "Gentle Time" 7:02
11. "SGNL>04 (End Transmission)" 1:07



  1. ^ Jahdi, Robin (24 June 2015). "The 40 best post-metal records ever made". Fact. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Slevin, Patrick (26 May 2009). "Interview with Aaron Turner of Isis: Radiating Energy". The Aquarian. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "PRIMER: Aaron Turner Revisits Isis' Entire Catalog". Self-Titled. Pop Mart Media. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Isis –Celestial / SGNL>05". discogs.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  5. ^ "ISIS Reissuing 'Celestial' – Remastered and New Artwork". Nefarious Realm. 2013-06-05. Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  6. ^ Rauf, Adam (18 June 2010). "The Isis Interview: Exclusive". Blow the Scene. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Gross, Joe (November 2009). "53: Isis – Celestial". Decibel (The Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade): 21. 
  8. ^ a b York, William. "Celestial – Isis". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Jarvis, Clay (1 September 2003). "Isis – Celestial". Stylus. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Copus, Mike (July 3, 2013). "Isis – Celestial (reissue)". thelineofbestfit.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ Fiander, Matthew (July 10, 2013). "Isis Celestial". popmatters.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  12. ^ Sarah (September 9, 2013). "Isis Celestial (Re-Issue)". scenepointblank.com. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  13. ^ Pratt, Greg (July 5, 2013). "Isis Celestial". exclaim.ca. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Rock Sound: Critics' Poll 2001". Rocklist.net. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Celestial (Media notes). Isis. Escape Artist Records. 1999. EA7.0.