Ion Dissonance - Solace
Abacus Recordings
Mathcore / Grindcore
10 songs (41:36)
Release year: 2005
Ion Dissonance, Abacus Recordings
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Ion Dissonance's second album sees the mathcore madmen branching out into slower and groovier areas, but only sometimes and only slightly. They definitely incorporate this style very well into their sound though as it never sounds out of place, but then again you may be asking yourself how anything can sound out of place when the music sounds so chaotic. But once again, I think there is a method to the madness. Vocalist Gabriel McCaughry is of course screaming his lungs out as usual, although he is more reserved at times. The music itself has not changed that much from their first album, although as I said, they are bringing in some more groove elements. The same hardcore-ish spoken word vocals are also back again, which I personally like because I think it adds an interesting element to the music, as well as giving you some discernible lyrics and therefore allowing you to get a grasp for what the music is about. Here's a hint: it isn't pretty.

The first song Play Dead...And I'll Play Along begins with smashing guitars and a chaotic time signature with McCaughry's usual shrieks and growls. This song really shines towards the end when the guitars get really groovy and the spoken word vocals come in with "I am giving you a choice...kill yourself or someone you love." Deep shit. The lyrics are, once again, excellent. O.A.S.D. continues the aural punishment with a wave of quick guitar riffs and blasting drums that settles down and breaks into a groovier passage about a minute later. McCaughry's vocals are a bit deeper and more traditional death metal growl here rather than the usual insane and undecipherable screaming. Are we starting to see another side of Ion Dissonance? The song closes out with the same speed driven guitar and drum work that it began with. The drumming on this album is just crazy. I'm not sure I've ever heard a drummer who plays so eclectically and yet so...precisely for lack of a better term. This can really be heard on the fourth track She's Strychnine where drummer Jean-François Richard gives his full range of ability and speed, not to mention McCaughry's vocals, which go from high-pitched screams to low growls. The song is only three and half minutes long, but it's so varied you feel like you're getting so much more. Most of the songs are somewhere between three and four minutes, pretty long for this genre in general, but the groove elements that are being added really demand more time to be heard and appreciated. Signature in particular is a song where the groove elements really become apparent. This song just crushes the entire time and really caught me with hooks that sink in deep.

The last song, A Prelude Of Things Worse To Come is over eleven minutes long. It is an epic journey through musical pain and aggression. It begins with a foreboding violin type electronic sound that builds up a lot of tension. When the guitar finally crashes in, with McCaughry's spoken word vocals in the background, the feeling is that of a dark wave of sound that just seems to envelope everything. The groovy yet dissonant riffs continue and McCaughry opens up his throat and issues forth some screams that are still raw yet somewhat more reserved. The rhythmic drumming in the background keeps the sense of dread going all through the song. This is simply an epic song that I really did not expect to hear from this band, and it shows that they are certainly capable of much more than the hyperspeed chaos they usually dish out. Clearly there's a lot of thought behind this music.

Once again Ion Dissonance give us a full plate that takes some time to digest. This is music you really have to listen to; otherwise you'll mostly hear noise and little of any musical value. However, if you just sit down with this album being played in a dark room, preferably through large speakers or headphones, you begin to hear patterns emerging from the pool of chaos. Certainly this is not everyone's cup of tea, but for those who like this style, Solace is a real treat.

Killing Songs :
Play Dead...And I’ll Play Along, She's Strychnine, Signature, A Prelude Of Things Worse To Come
Khelek quoted 83 / 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 - Breathing Is Irrelevant reviewed by Khelek and quoted 79 / 100
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There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Mon May 18, 2009 3:51 pm
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