Minus The Herd
posted on 7/2007 By:
With their third release, Ion Dissonance appear to have finally succumbed to the influence of their less intrepid peers. Minus the Herd is easily the band's most streamlined and pummeling release to date, but also their least interesting. While this album will likely appeal to the mosh-minded death-core crowd, everything that once accounted for this band's preeminence in the tech-metal scene has been pawned in exchange for a shiny new production and some artless and uninspiring breakdowns. While not a total wash, Minus the Herd is disappointing as it presents a band blindly disregarding their potential to make a true statement in their genre.
Despite the prevalence of the current death-core/metal-core scene and its pitting of bands against each other in a battle to be crowned the mostly brutally inane, it's still slightly surprising to see a band with the pedigree of Ion Dissonance jump into the fray. Nevertheless, opening track “The Surge,” makes it clear that Minus the Herd won't be the amphetamine fueled knife-fight that both Breathing is Irrelevant and Solace were. While programmed specifically to shake your living room walls by modern metal engineer-extraordinaire, Zuess, the discrepancy between breakdowns and actual riffs serves as a disturbing opening salvo. “Through Struggle,” and “Kneel” offer much of the same dumbed down slam by numbers mosh-core with a few piece-meal tech flourishes thrown in almost as an afterthought. Where once the band seemed to push the boundaries of how many riffs and fills could be sensibly ram-rodded into a hardcore song, the fretwork now sounds like between-breakdown filler. Later, “You Shouldn't Be Alive,” trudges along listlessly and presents one of the lamest hardcore shout-alongs I've ever had the misfortune of aurally receiving. Responsible for this lyrical abomination is new Ion D vocalist Kevin McCaughey, who, despite turning in a game performance in his debut with the band, lacks both the charisma and slanted perspective of predecessor Gabe McCaughry. McCaughry's visceral delivery is missed just as much as the once scathing dual guitar attack.
Undoubtedly, the heft of Minus the Herd will appeal to some. It's a heavy album, for sure. For those who are satisfied by the sound of really loud sounds, this will satisfy just as well as anything the hordes of bands pushing this style (The Handshake Murders, Apiary) are putting out. But, I don't really care about production, and I'm not here to fellate somebody because they render an open C chord really well. I'm sure the old lady behind the counter at GNC who's always asking me if I NEED ANY VITAMINS could release something totally crucial if Zuess was twisting the knobs. I have a hard time believing anyone who was a fan of the first two Ion Dissonance albums and everything they represent will receive this as anything more than a dumbed down and compromised effort.
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