The Canadian mathcore band Ion Dissonance have been mostly out of the picture since 2010’s Cursed. Normally this kind of long absence would register as a hiccup in a band’s career, but in this case, it might constitute a boon. Their first two albums, 2003’s Breathing Is Irrelevant and 2005’s Solace, established their immeasurably amped-up, slammy death metal take on the tangled chaos of bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan and Coalesce — a sound that no other band has really successfully replicated. But they changed vocalists and approaches for 2007’s Minus The Herd, opting for a simpler, groovier, and more boneheaded attack firmly rooted in the then-novel deathcore subgenre. The change worked out well for the band at the time, but deathcore eventually lost its luster and suffered a deserved backlash. Ion Dissonance sat most of this period out, and fan expectations have essentially reset themselves for Cast The First Stone, their fifth album.
Fittingly, Ion Dissonance have returned to the sound of their early years, with punishing results. Cast The First Stone could’ve immediately followed Solace in the band’s discography — it’s a jarring, relentless listen, forever tantalizing listeners with meaty grooves that last just long enough to make the next flight of blinding technicality that much more disorienting. Ion Dissonance are absolute masters of this brains-and-brawn dichotomy, which you can hear in full flower on the two previous singles from Cast The First Stone. For its part, the ambitiously named “Perpetually Doomed: The Sisyphean Task” focuses more overtly on head-down brutality than maniacal skronking. It even features a touch of something like melody, but Ion Dissonance tempers even that subtle touch of conventional musicality with plenty of cruel twists and turns. Listen.