Third Ion – 13/8 Bit (Glasstone Records)Sunday, 17th May 2015
Just looking at the cover of 13/8 Bit was a nice, childhood throwback. Having the image of Gameboy box art, it also gave a pretty clear idea of what the music was going to be like. Top it all off with members of Into Eternity and The Devin Townsend Band, and you’ve got a formula that sure to please many progressive metal fans.
What’s most interesting about Third Ion is that while they utilize the “chip metal” elements (see Machinae Supremacy), there’s much more to the band than that. The most obvious usage of these elements is in the opening title track, which begins with some Mega Man hijinks before the metal kicks in. It also closes with “Van hAlien,” which boasts a number of different effects as well. It’s a nice sound enhancer, and it never seems like “too much.” Other than those two tracks, most tracks do not have this element and could be described as well-composed and altogether interesting progressive metal, which benefits from some elegant use of piano throughout the album. The vocals give it an almost alternative/grunge feel at points, with a vague similarity to Chris Cornell as well as Mikael Akerfeldt. One of the standout tracks here would be the 13-minute “Time Lapse Beta,” twisting and turning with an more dark rock approach that never missteps through its extended time. The album is rounded out by some solid guitar and bass work, such as the technical riffing of “Collapse” and “Zero Mass.”
A pleasantly diverse album, 13/8 Bit should find its niche among progressive metal fans. There’s plenty of crossover potential as well due to the vocals, which should give them a bit of an edge as they continue to expand their sound. A solid debut.