Sound — 8
If you are into heavy metal and you haven't heard of Ion Dissonance yet, you have been missing out. They are one of the Canadian tech-metal wonders flooding the American scene lately (see Beneath the Massacre, Despised Icon). I will start off describing the band's overall sound fist. The unifying theme of Ion Dissonance is brutal tech-downs with piercing vocals. This record will leave listeners with either a big headache or feeling of satisfaction for understanding their complex time signatures and 7-string brutalness. This is definately a record that needs to be listened to over and over to understand the complexity and the musicianship of the band, except for the opening track, which should be an easy nut to crack for almost any fan of death metal, but full of emotion and raw energy that will satisfy a fan of hardcore. There are times when this record falls short, it builds up a lot of tension with off-timing but doesn't always resolve it with melody or correct timing leaving an unexperienced listener with a bitter taste in the ears. This might also be a good thing for people looking for discomfort, but at times you will find yourself skipping through certain tracks because they just don't offer enough resolution to all the chaos, unless you like that.
Lyrics — 9
Minus The Herd has been written for intense listening with the booklet along the side (or lyrics from the internet). Knowing or following the lyrics greatly enhances the listening experience. The lyrics are very dark, and the main themes are that of horror, self-actualization (that things aren't as good as we think), unleashing rage against women (very prominent in a lot of hardcore/metal). If Minus The Herd was a horror movie, it would not attract large audiences because of it's complex psychological dissonance instead of just plain gore (like in most death metal). Singer's skills are fairly decent, however at times he cuts off his thoughts at inapropriate times within a song, making the lyrical flow quite awkward. His voice sounds as good as it gets for tech metal (fairly easy to understand and follow).
Overall Impression — 9
Do not listen to this as background music! This is not a bathroom magazine. You need to allow yourself some space in your mind before you try to listen to this unless you love migraine. Also, intermediate to advanced heavy metal listening skills are required. Minus The Herd is hard to compare to other tech metal albums simply because it creates a whole new listening experience. I would highly recomend this to any fan with good listening ability, and I can't stress this enough, because it will be frustrating to listen to if you have no idea what is going on. if I lost this CD (if my hard drive crashed) I would take my CD and put it on my new computer. If I have happened to lose my CD as well, to be completely honest, I would not buy this again. The reason why is that I have listened to it so many times I can't possibly get much more from this as I already picked up. However, it took quite some time for me to be completely comfortable with this record, and it will be the same for you, so pick this up (or download) and enjoy the brutality.