Ion Dissonance - Breathing Is Irrelevant
Math / Grindcore
9 songs (32:05)
Release year: 2003
Ion Dissonance, Willowtip
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Now here is a band that will flat out lay you open with its music. If you're looking for something that is just going to brutalize your ears and still sound awesome doing it, this is an album for you. Ion Dissonance play a mix of math and grindcore with some really catchy groove elements thrown in just to keep you interested. This can be a difficult album to get into, but it is a rewarding listen if you are willing to give it a chance.

The bands brutal approach is exemplified in the first track, Substantial Guilt vs. The Irony Of Enjoying. The song starts out with screams and guitars being flayed wildly without concern for a "normal" time signature or much of anything else besides speed and aggression. However, after about a minute of this, the groovier elements come in and it creates an awesome catchy-yet-still-chaotic atmosphere. This song serves as a gateway to the rest of an great album. A lot of the song titles are pretty long and read like something out of a dystopic cyberpunk story. The lyrics also take on a cynical and pissed off attitude that fits the music perfectly. I usually don't bother to have any interest in the lyrics of music like this, but Ion Dissonance actually writes some powerful stuff. Vocalist Gabriel McCaughry uses a lot of different styles, changing his voice seemingly at random. However this certainly fits the spontaneous feel of the music and the more I listened, the more I realized there is somewhat of a method to his madness. The more primal screams and high pitched guttural vocals fit the fast, chaotic parts while the somewhat lower growls fit the more deliberate groove elements. There are also some spoken-word type vocals somewhere in almost all of the songs, which are often worked into the more acoustic interludes. Overall it's a hit or miss for me. There is clearly a lot of feeling behind the vocals, but sometimes I wish they were a bit less tortured sounding. That being said, here are a few tracks I found particularly of interest:

Binary Pt. 2 starts out with heavy riffs and then some softer, clean electric guitar with spoken vocals that give the song an otherworldly feel at first. Then the guitars come in to shatter the calm atmosphere with pounding riffs and the screams of McCaughry, creating a chaotic yet dismal feeling throughout the rest of the song.

The Death Of One Man... starts out with a colossal riff that leads into the usual tempo changing and speeding guitar. The song continues through its short two minutes of life to punish you with some really heavy, catchy riffs and the usual tortured vocals.

The Girl Nextdoor Is Always Screaming starts out with some interesting guitar and bass work, sounding almost like a duel at times. About a minute later in the song there is some really exceptional guitar and drum work. I get the feeling that a wave of energy is rippling outwards towards me amidst a hail of fiery objects. The bass really adds something to this track as well, creating some excellent catchy overtones.

This is certainly the soundtrack of a world gone haywire, but it succeeds by remaining in the realm of the listenable. These guys manage to find a certain amount of beauty in the chaos that works really well most of the time. As I listened to the album more, the more I could find to like and connect with. It also helps that the guys do not make the album too long, although even so it can be difficult to listen to the entire half hour at once. This is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but if bands like Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan interest you, you'll definitely want to check these guys out.

Killing Songs :
Failure In The Process Of Identifying A Dream, Binary Pt. 2, The Death Of One Man Is A Tragedy, The Death Of 10,000 Is A Statistic, The Girl Nextdoor Is Always Screaming
Khelek quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Ion Dissonance that we have reviewed:
Ion Dissonance - Cursed reviewed by Khelek and quoted 84 / 100
Ion Dissonance - Minus The Herd reviewed by Khelek and quoted 82 / 100
Ion Dissonance - Solace reviewed by Khelek and quoted 83 / 100
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