It is an extreme listen, but will make for cathartic get-the-hell-out-of-my-way-I'm-running-late-for-work-and-left-my-granola-bar-on-the-kitchen-worktop morning rage music after your partner breaks up with you and you become an embittered lonely soul
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Canada’s Ion Dissonance play heavily mathcore-influenced deathcore, more abstract and free-form in the vein of bands such as Beecher, Into the Moat, and Despised Icon but with all the angular technicalities expected from any The Dillinger Escape Plan record.
The second play is hit, one can tell that many of the creative inspirations behind the music involve various facets of anger. Rage is key to deathcore, arguably one of the heaviest genres out there, without which it is all too easy for the music to be overlooked. This is the case for many such releases nowadays, where ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ riffing formulae are re-regurgitated because bands want to make deathcore just for the sake of it. Fortunately, Ion Dissonance keep their music fresh, despite deathcore arguably being somewhat tired and untrendy as a whole, despite this being their fifth album, and despite it being six years since they last released music.
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‘Burdens’ sets the backdrop for the album, demonstrating its musical style. There is an awful lot to get one’s head around, with it all too easy to get lost in the flurry of scales, screams and double bass. Even then, this album actually showcases a compromise between the earlier, “crazier” styles (e.g. on 2003’s breakthrough ‘Breathing is Irrelevant’), and the more groove-orientated releases ‘Solace’ and ‘Minus the Herd’. Contrastingly, spacey, moody broken chords are allowed to ring out over djent-esque guitar palm muted shredding in ‘To Expiate’. The music is somewhat varied song-to-song, with most of the tracks at 2-3 minutes in length, save ‘(D.A.B.D.A.) State of Discomposure’ clocking in at 8:56. These eleven tracks clock in at a brief thirty-fiveish minutes.
One quality that jumps out about the recording (apart from the crushing heaviness and the full, bass-heavy sound) are the vocals. Pig Destroyer’s vocalist is well known for screaming without due consideration for his larynx back in the day, that is, far too loudly. (Suggested viewing: ‘Forgotten Child’ live video – the microphone breaks cleanly in two but JR Hayes is still clearly audible over the guitar and drums.) On ‘Terrifyer’, these too-loud screams clip in the recording, distorting them somewhat and giving them novel charm. Similarities here give the narrative considerable grit to its rage, reminiscent also of Jacob Bannon in ‘Jane Doe’. Speaking of Converge, many hardcore and screamo bands arguably have some of the best, most agile, creative drummers out there. In addition to the obvious influences, it would be easy to imagine some of the drumming on this album being played by Ben Koller, or by Pianos Become the Teeth‘s David Haik who has been known to warm up for shows by playing ‘Bleed’ by Meshuggah‘s main verse pattern.
Philip Ball once said that critics of punk described it as “a morass of nihilistic anomie”. This is perhaps the perfect hyper-generalised description for this album, which, for most, will require multiple listens before the time and effort put in really begins to pay off. It is an extreme listen, but will make for cathartic get-the-hell-out-of-my-way-I’m-running-late-for-work-and-left-my-granola-bar-on-the-kitchen-worktop morning rage music after your partner breaks up with you and you become an embittered lonely soul.
‘Cast the First Stone’ is out now via Good Fight.
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