Io make some pretty challenging music. The band make a fantastic blend of prog rock, hardcore and post metal that can be a little overbearing but is amazingly rewarding to listen to. The band’s third album Our Disintegrating Museum is only 6 tracks long but contains almost 40 minutes of wonderfully experimental music that has a much wider appeal than your average metal audience.
The album starts with a triple combo of 8 minute+ songs that carefully sum up exactly what the band is all about. Massive riffs and screaming are the order of the day but a more introspective and calmer moment is never too far behind. This is evident in songs like I’ll Need a Diagram which opens with Io’s special brand of guitar-based chaos before calming down to melody that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Vampire Weekend album complete with brass elements before the Mastodon-like riff worship comes back into play.
As mentioned before, this is pretty heavy going when it comes music of any sort as Io’s influences come from all angles. The band’s playing is beautifully tight, making these highly contrasting changes in style sound effortless and natural. You might be in for a bumpy ride but Io amazingly manage to avoid all the cracks in the road to create a wholesome and accomplished sound that isn’t jarring and uncomfortable to listen to.
The major issue with Our Disintegrating Museum is that it tends to stay with one particular element for a little too long. The best example of this is the 2 minute instrumental track Horse for Particular a Course, which spends all its’ time jamming one specific hook. The music isn’t particularly bad but it just feels like it spends too much time doing the same thing. This isn’t the only time Io employ this writing method as well as many of the songs have sections that contain a single hook that’s drawn out for far too long. Once again, the music isn’t painful to listen to but it can be a bit boring.
Io are a really interesting band making spectacularly original music. Album closer Voyage of the Alecton sums the band up brilliantly with its’ spiky hardcore riffing that soon descends into a beautiful, post-metal section that’s epic in scale. Our Disintegrating Museum contains a multitude of intriguing and genuinely surprising moments like these that will keep you gripped for the entire 40 minutes. It’s here where Io excel as brilliant progressive rock musicians with some wonderfully unique ideas.
It’s a shame then that from time to time the band find themselves noodling away without realising they’re not really doing an awful lot. If Io can tighten up these sections on future releases they’ll be onto something truly special.
Io’s The Disintegrating Museum is out now on Grammatical Records.