Migraine

Sacrifice Isaac

Slipdisc / Mercury Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/01/1999

Sometimes, it takes me a while to click with an album. There are times in this job where I listen to something and develop certain feelings about it, but I feel that I'm missing something. This was the case with Migraine, the latest release from Sacrifice Isaac, which I've had on the shelves of the Pierce Memorial Archives now for about four months.

About four weeks ago, I was all set to review this disc, but I couldn't help but feeling that I was missing something important, despite several listens. So, I did the only logical thing: I walked away from the disc - and damn near forgot about it until recently.

So what did the time away from it reveal about this album? Simple: Sacrifice Isaac is a band whom you're going to have to put some extra attention into. While my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Migraine is a very good record that merges the best of groups like Tool and Stabbing Westward, if you're not listening closely to the disc, you'll miss some solid efforts.

The band - vocalist W.C. Mitchell, drummer Mark Coffin, guitarist/vocalist Paul Mitchell and bassist Gene Abramov - take the musical complexity and intensity of Tool and combine it with a touch of pop sensibility (the kind I've heard in groups like Local H and Stabbing Westward). What comes out is a unique, exciting sound that is original and fresh.

From the opening notes of "1000 Years Worth", you know this is going to be a fun listen. Tracks like "Figure It Out," "Re-Count" and "Nobody But Me" all flash between pure musical intensity and - dare I say it? - a gentler side. (Don't worry, diehard alternative rockers, I'm not talking ballad city here.) Mitchell knows when to let loose on the pipes and when to make the vocals more subdued; not many in this genre know how to do that.

So why do I say that this disc needs extra concentration? Simple: Some tracks like "Dollface," "One Good Stick" and "Bludgeoned" tend to blur together, making it hard to tell just which track you may have liked or disliked. Even after about ten listens to this disc, I still had to keep an eye on the track listing and the CD player's display just to make sure I knew which track to match up the nuances with. (It's not that these tracks are bad by any means; but they are similar in style and tone, making it hard to sometimes tell them apart.)

If I had to level one criticism, it would be my usual pet peeve: hidden tracks. This time around, Sacrifice Isaac wastes about six minutes after "Hillbilly" (probably the only track on the disc I didn't enjoy) in order to put on the uncredited song - which also isn't among the best on the disc. (Okay, I'm beggin' here: If you're going to put bonus tracks on, fine... just don't fill up the disc with all this friggin' dead air! I'm a busy man...)

Migraine is an album that takes the best features of its musical genre and wraps them all into one disc. Sacrifice Isaac might not be major names in the world of alternative rock, but if enough people get turned on to this disc, that all could change soon.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slipdisc / Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.