Review Summary: UK tech-metal at its best: heavy, progressive, melodic, catchy, atmospheric ... For fans of: The Safety Fire, Monuments, Periphery, Volumes ...4 of 10 thought this review was well written
Once again released through Basick Records (April 1, 2013), "IO" is No Consequence’s second studio album. This time around, the band decided to explore the more melodic side of their music, while still keeping the music intense and aggressive. As of this album, their music style falls within the following: Progressive, Tech-Metal, Hardcore, some listeners might even classify them as djent band.
The sound and production is spot on, easily some of the best I’ve heard this year. Every song has a very professional tone; the instruments are well balanced - nothing seems too faint - even bassist, Tom Parkinson is clear in the mix; his skills really show on songs such as Bury the Debt and Sentient. Drummer, Colin Bentham did an excellent job with the drumming; his work sounds great throughout the album, sometimes outshining the rest of the band. The drums were recorded and edited by Mike Malyan (Monuments & The Algorithm). Main composer/guitarist, Dan Reid, did a fine job with the album; he mixed, produced, and engineered it; and finally, Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios did the mastering.
It’s evident that both guitarists gained a great amount of experience/inspiration between releases (2009 - 2013). The guitar leads and riffs have a lot more body and depth, both, Dan Reid and Harry Edwards brought a lot of attention and detail into their work. Their guitar playing consists of: striking solo-like melodies, tapping leads, complex rhythms, catchy guitar riffs, melodic breakdowns, and atmospheric notes - there’s a great amount of fresh/creative ideas throughout the album. Songs such as Sentient, Enemy of Logic, and Coerce: Conform are all great examples of what these guys have to offer, overall, the guitar work is very inspiring.
Highlights (memorable moments)
Enemy of Logic - Easily one of my favorite songs, the intro itself is very compelling and unique; the complex rhythm and tapping guitar lead is bound to get your attention. (3:25) In this section the aggressive and faint-ambient vocals create a hopeful mood, with the lyrics repeating: “We see through your ancient fallacy! (I love the haunting scream at 3:44). As the song comes to an end, it segues into the beautiful “Ether”, a short and soothing ambient track.
Bury the Debt - (2:39 - 3:25) this part comes as a surprise, the music enters a very pure and peaceful state, and suddenly (3:30 - ending) the music picks up with a heavy ambient-breakdown, plus some breathtaking vocal work; there’s a sense of anger and suffering in Kaan’s voice during the final lyrics, "Does this seem like a game to you? You'll never win us back; mark my words. I won't be the last to see through these lies." The song ends with a series of atmospheric notes, which set the mood for the next song.
Sentient - “Stuck in a world of electric distortion. Mad-made lights: but not the true illumination of you." - the soothing vocals and the colorful chord progression will surely get your attention. (1:36) The chorus itself is very well written and catchy, I like how it’s different every time it comes up: “The pieces fall into place, everything we need is here … “ (2:07 - 2:42) This section provides an intense melodic build up leading to a simple, yet memorable solo/melody (love the bass as well). Overall, this song is perfect; it goes from an ethereal introduction to an intense climax, and finishes off strong … a must listen!
Coerce: Conform - The gripping single from IO. (0:53 - 1:40) this section showcases some of the best vocal work on the album (a great combination of aggressive and clean vocals). (2:47 - 3:52) this part is very creative and unpredictable; it develops as a clean ambient part and suddenly goes haywire (the singer provides some soaring/ethereal OH’s, especially at 3:40).
What Is Dead May Never Die - Regardless of the length I really enjoy this track. It’s a one-minute instrumental, half breakdown/rhythm and half solo-like melody; I thought it was pretty unique.
Unify - (3:22 - ending) this section is full of energy, all the instruments come together to create an epic finale. The final lyrics are presented and repeated in a very anthemic manner: “Break out these chains, we are one!”
One of the many things that have improved is the vocal work (both clean and aggressive). I really admire Kaan Tasan’s vocal approach, especially when he executes the aggressive vocals; the lyrics remain loud and clear; his dynamic vocals range from the soaring melodies of “Sentient” to the more intense vocals of “Name Your Price” and “Illusion of Choice”. As for the lyrics, they are very well written and inspired; for the most part, each song is easy to interpret, and for that reason, the whole listening experience is better.
ALL THAT'S LEFT - The theme to this song is a bit dark; the lyrics seem to describe a nation on the brink of despair (no hope or dreams) - post-apocalyptic?
"A nation with no hope, no aspiration - lost in a downward spiral, we’re the ones to blame."
"A darkened future, the light begins to fade, ever consuming; life slips away."
SO CLOSE TO NOWHERE - This song seems to share a hopeful message about life - don't let thoughts of defeat consume you, learn from your mistakes and move forward.
"Self-reflective thoughts consume, pulling deeper to the realization of failure."
"Dreams are broken and shattered within a day, you have to learn from these mistakes."
VELA - These lyrics are very visual; they seem to describe the final moments of mankind/end of the world. Overall, these are my favorite lyrics on the album.
"In these last moments, embrace the ever-haunting wind, it flies but nothing escapes."
"As the skies burn, we find peace in the flames."
"Millions of faces stare at the sky waiting - the waiting twists and burns ... "
ENEMY OF LOGIC - This song appears to be about tyrant ruling: speaking false promises, spreading fear, and leading people away from the truth.
"You preach of a higher power, but when has it proven its worth?"
"This world doesn’t need a savior - it needs the truth!"
"We see through your ancient fallacy ... "
UNIFY - The song’s title says it all. Revolving around the ideas of breaking free and being united/equal.
"You are no longer alone - stand up, be counted, we must unify!"
"Humanity united under the rebirth of new ideals."
Overall, I’m very impressed. "IO" is a fine example of UK tech-metal, as well as, modern metal in general; the album is top-notch all the way through, it's heavy, energetic, creative, and atmospheric. It’s safe to say that they outperformed their debut album, “In the Shadows of Gods” (2009). I highly recommend: Sentient, Coerce: Conform, Vela, and Enemy of Logic.