ISIS Corporation Sunday December 7th By Tom Bage

Isis are one of rock’s best-kept secrets.

Whilst the instrumentalists in Sigur Ros soundtrack television trailers and post rock titans Mogwai are name checked in Ian Rankin novels, the meandering compositions of these California based metallers have remained the preserve of heavy rock purists since their formation in 1997. Maybe it’s the larynx-shredding vocals, the spiralling 10 minute songs which would frighten any radio station manager, or the baffling conceptual albums which have kept them under the radar so long, but Isis seem to stand little chance of ever being as massive as their terrifying guitar sound.

Neither they, nor their fans would have it any other way. Attendees at Monday’s Corporation gig weren’t there on the back of an NME recommendation, and didn’t pop by because singer and record label supremo Aaron Turner has a celebrity girlfriend – they braved a freezing Sheffield night because they wanted to spend an hour in the presence of the best metal band in the world today.

Isis simply don’t disappoint; whether it’s live or on record their sound is crisp and complex, flowing effortlessly from mellow instrumental passages into the sort of full blooded guitar roar that makes Metallica’s new record sound like a box of quietly purring kittens.

They hardly move on stage and rarely speak between songs – but such is the awe that their fans hold them in that at times the Steel City crowd was eerily silent, painfully aware that gigs and bands of this quality come along rarely.

Isis are heading into the studio again soon to complete work on their fifth album, set for a 2009 release. After this heart stopping performance, Sheffield’s metal fans will be crossing their fingers that the band are back as soon as possible with a clutch of new material.