Released: 2006, Galy Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Galy Records has undertaken the welcome task of packaging a pair of demos from two of Quebec’s most punishing and talented tech-core acts—Ion Dissonance and Despised Icon—for fans to experience each band’s early roots. Ion Dissonance, the more spastic and technical of the two, released their .357 demo back in 2002, while Despised Icon, a vicious six-piece “deathcore” act whose two-song SYNDICATED MURDERERS demo led to Century Media scooping the band up for 2005’s THE HEALING PROCESS. Rather than just slap out a shoddy, poorly-recorded copy of the original demos, Despised Icon guitarist (and up-and-coming producer) Yannick St-Amand has gone back and remastered everything and (now ex-) Ion Dissonance vocalist, Gabriel McCaughry, designed simple, yet striking artwork and a unique, clear CD. All five songs have since been re-recorded and released on the respective band’s full-length, so there is nothing “new” here per se, but for fans of Ion Dissonance and Despised Icon, this is a very cool collector’s piece.
At a mere eighteen minutes, DEMOS 2002 & 2004 is over before you know it but it is one wild ride. Ion Dissonance’s tracks are a dizzying whirlwind of spastic lurches, chugs, blastbeats and guitar squeals. Gabriel McCaughry bellows away but the churning, technical riffs of Antoine Lussier and Sebastian Chaput really capture the essence of the band. “The Girl Next Door Is Always Screaming” is a bruising track with some freakishly-good bass noodling courtesy of Sebastian Painchaud and frantic double bass from Jean-Francois Richard. “The Bud Dwyer Effect” further solidifies Ion Dissonance’s position as powerhouses in the genre with guitar, bass and drums all working as one cohesive unit, roiling through the complexities of the music as if it were as easy as stopping and starting on a dime. Despised Icon, whose music leans more towards the death-grind spectrum than Ion Dissonance’s flailing technical wizardry, unleash a salvo of machine-gun double bass and the roaring hardcore vocals of Alex Erian battle with Steve Marois’ gurgles, pig squeals and guttural roars to pummel the listener into submission. “Warm Blooded” is the more straightforward of the two tracks but Alex Pelletier’s blasting drum beats and the labyrinthine riffs of Yannick St-Amand and Eric Jarrin still cold-cock the listener. “Bulletproof Scales” is absolutely crushing from beginning to end, shifting gears from a blistering speed to a breakdown that rattles the teeth. Choppy, technical riffs and jaw-dropping drumming leave ashes in the song’s wake.
Certainly DEMOS 2002 & 2004 will have a limited audience but for those privy to the immaculate metal that Quebec’s Ion Dissonance and Despised Icon preach, this EP will be a welcome addition to the CD collection.
KILLER KUTS: “The Girl Next Door Is Always Screaming,” “The Bud Dwyer Effect,” “Warm Blooded,” “Bulletproof Scales”