Ion Dissonance - Minus The Herd
Abacus Recordings
Mathcore / Groove Metal
10 songs (33:04)
Release year: 2007
Ion Dissonance, Abacus Recordings
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

The third studio album from Ion Dissonance is certainly something I wish I had heard when it first came out. After listening extensively to their first two releases, I was expecting somewhat of a more refined sound from the band, but this is almost a different direction altogether. The band has taken their chaotic grind and mathcore roots and assimilated them into a sound that features a lot more groove elements than the past two albums. While there is still chaos in the form of weird time signatures and some quick tempos, the music is heavier and slower overall, especially compared to the band's past work. Vocalist Gabriel McCaughry's departure after the second album came as some surprise, but it does seem like he enjoyed the absolute chaos, which the band is now leaving behind. With that said these guys still know how to smash your eardrums and create some great music.

As soon as the album starts with The Surge, you know that this is a different Ion Dissonance. Firstly the guitar is slowed down to a groovy crawl compared to the last two albums. The tempo is not nearly as quick and chaotic, and the vocals from McCaughey are much less insane than Gabriel McCaughry's wild screams and growls. I am reminded of the band's final track on their second album, Solace, which was much slower and groovier and appropriately titled A Prelude Of Things Worse To Come. You Shouldn't Be Alive is another song that is much slower than almost anything the band has done before. It is still very heavy and raw, but you can actually decipher what is going on with individual instruments as opposed to just hearing a wave of indistinguishable sound wash over you. It is also quite a short song, but again these guys know how to draw out a short song so that you actually get something substantial out of it. Scorn Haven is one of the faster (and surprisingly longer) tracks on the album that brings in some of the chaos and quick tempo changes that Ion Dissonance are known for. McCaughey's vocals remain mostly the same brutal growl style throughout the song, although he does use an almost spoken word style at times that sounds similar to Gabriel McCaughry's spoken word style. Untitled is an instrumental track that really threw me off a bit. What can be heard is mostly synths backed by some fast paced, industrial style drumming. It almost makes me wonder if the band is headed towards yet another style change, but it seems it was added just to throw the listener off guard a bit. The final track, Tarnished Trepidation also introduces some new things. A bit of melody starts the song out in the guitar department along with some spoken word style vocals that help create a bleak, crushing atmosphere. The song continues with some very heavy riffs and devastating drum work, with changes in the tempo from time to time to keep you interested throughout its five-minute duration.

The new vocalist is pretty decent and I like his style, although what can really compare to Gabriel McCaughry's insane shrieks and animalistic screams? Some may see this line-up change as a good thing as it gives the band vocals that suit their new, less chaos-prone direction. I had heard that McCaughry left the band because of differences in opinion on where the band should go musically, and this seems to go along with what can be heard on this album. However, the lyrics are one thing that has not changed. They are well written as always with an emphasis on cynicism and the darker side of the human condition, and because of the more comprehensible vocals, you can actually hear much more of them. I do feel that the band has lost some of its passion with the departure of their former vocalist. They still write some killer, heavy songs, but there just isn't as much to take in as there was before and I do not feel the same insane, chaotic force that could really be experienced on the past two albums. Some might argue that the past couple albums were simply too noisy and chaotic to get anything out of, but I enjoyed them mainly because there was so much to listen to. In any case this is a great sounding record and I hope these guys can really get into their groove with the new vocalist. This new style of theirs definitely has some great energy and I look forward to hearing where they will go with it in the future.

Killing Songs :
You Shouldn't Be Alive, Scorn Haven, Tarnished Trepidation
Khelek quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Ion Dissonance that we have reviewed:
Ion Dissonance - Cursed reviewed by Khelek and quoted 84 / 100
Ion Dissonance - Solace reviewed by Khelek and quoted 83 / 100
Ion Dissonance - Breathing Is Irrelevant reviewed by Khelek and quoted 79 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:22 am
View and Post comments