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Released: 2016, Glasstone Records
Canada’s Third Ion formed back in 2014 and quickly zoomed gained attention with their video game-inspired debut album, 13/8 BIT. It was certainly justified by the music, but also the credentials of the band’s members, as some of them had played in respected groups like The Devin Townsend Band and the sorely missed Into Eternity. Cut to early 2016 and a vocalist switch took place with former Annihilator man Dave Padden joining the group to record their latest release (as of July 2016), BIOLITH.
As you can tell buy the stunning cover art and album title, the songs are strongly derived from science fiction, perfectly matching the band’s classic progressive metal style. As well, BIOLITH conjures the concept of immensity and Third Ion’s music delivers on this promise. From the minute “State of Flux” kicks off the album, its clear that the album will be a feast of musicianship, complex song writing, and expressive vocals. While the music is instantly identifiable as progressive metal and one can pick out snippets of the members’ previous bands, as well as other genre touchstones, Third Ion’s sound is purely their own.
Back to “State of Flux”. The song is not only complicated, but also memorable, certainly helped by Padden’s welcoming vocals. After years of thrashing stages with Annihilator, it’s cool to hear him in a new style. Complex and memorable are the two words that best describe the entire album as each song will eventually stick to your brain and keep you coming back for more. Oddly, the two most immediate songs are the epics, the aforementioned opener and the title track. “Cosmic Delusion” is sandwiched in between the two and is equally powerful despite its shorter length. While the back half of the album is not as instantly gratifying, this trio of songs leading the album kept me going for repeated listens until later cuts like “Illogical” were also burned into memory.
The only complaint I have is that, on an eight song album, two tracks (“Status Undetermined” and “Corpus Solaris”) are little more than lengthy interludes. Both are actually good as they go, but perhaps another full song would have been better suited.
Kudos to Third Ion for creating a sound of their own within a crowded genre. BIOLITH is definitely worth your time and should be sought out by any progressive metal fan.
1. State of Flux
2. Cosmic Delusion
4. Status Undetermined
6. Lessons Burned
7. Temporal Divide
8. Corpus Solaris
Dave Padden: Vocals
Justin Bender: Guitar, Keyboards
Mike Young: Bass
Aaron Edgar: Drums
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