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No Consequence - IO[1st April 2013]
[Basick Records]

01. So Close to Nowhere
02. Name Your Price
03. All That’s Left
04. Enemy of Logic
05. Ether
06. Bury the Debt
07. Sentient
08. Illusion of Choice
09. Coerce:Conform
10. What is Dead May Never Die
11. Vela
12. Unify

Djent. Whether it floats your boat or not, it’s not going anywhere any time soon. And it is into this fairly crowded arena that No Consequence have dropped their second album Io, as part of the formidable Basick Records roster.

As a genre, I’m in the faintly awkward position of liking a lot of the music, but hating the name. ‘They’ say it is onomatopoeic, But I think the only time I’ve ever heard a guitar make a sound like that is when I accidentally dropped one down the stairs. But the band themselves also use qualifiers like ‘progressive’ and ‘technical’ – terms that I’m a lot more comfortable with, even if they are somewhat broader in scope.

It has been nearly four years since their debut In The Shadow Of Gods, and it is clear the band have grown in the interim. The raw ferocity of the first record has been burnished into something smoother and sleeker – but aggression levels nevertheless remain high.

The resulting sound sits on the prog-tech spectrum around half-way between TesseracT and Textures. “Enemy of Logic” wouldn’t sound out of place as part of the former’s Concealing Fate  odyssey, albeit with more forcefully bellowed vocals. String bends abound, down-tuned riffs that are jagged to the point of glitchy nestle against more spacious melodic passages. There are also moments of Aliases style fretboard histrionics to spice things up a bit.

Now, I will admit that I wasn’t particularly impressed with In The Shadow Of Gods, and whilst the band are clearly heading in the right direction, I don’t think they’ve quite made it to their destination just yet.

A significant part of the problem, is the ‘technical’ aspect to their sound. Whilst the fact the band can play these stop-start riffs, with snatched beats and off-kilter accents so cleanly and precisely is, without question, impressive – but in prioritising this display of technical skill, they often sacrifice the groove of the track, sapping its forward momentum. For me, the mark of a great tech-metal track is that it can venture into wildly improbable territory, but you can still nod along with it. Unfortunately, too many of the riffs on this album feel awkward for the sake of being awkward, and seem to fall over themselves a bit as they lurch from beat to beat.

Peculiarly, there are a couple of short interlude tracks of around a minute apiece in the running order. Their presence is perplexing, as they don’t even seem to serve as segues between the tracks on either side. In the case of “What Is Dead May Never Die“, it becomes a little frustrating – the riff sounds strong enough to have made it into a ‘proper’ song; instead, it feels like a squandered opportunity.

All is not completely lost, though – there are definitely tracks on this album I enjoyed, “Bury The Debt” in particular, and passages in others that show promise of good things in their future.

It would be fair to point out that it took Textures four albums to release one that I would say was truly excellent, so there is still time for them yet. And, indeed, that they were able to record four albums suggest they must have been getting something right.

Perhaps if you are not as much of a “Slave To The Groove” as I am, you will have a much better time with Io than I did. And if the mixture of staccato crunch with crazy time signatures blows your frock up, then this may well be a genuine delight.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on what No Consequence get up to in the future, but I’m afraid I’m not going to be returning to Io any time soon.


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