Have a listen to 'Stuck'
Core of iO – Part II: Europa
Release Date: 1st December 2017
It wasn’t long ago that I reviewed Brighton prog rockers, Vrona, stating that I had stepped out of my comfort zone when approaching their single release, ‘Impermanence’. Well, I’m at it again with fellow Brightonians, Core of iO, another prog act who have a fairly larger following in comparison, having played Mammothfest and Techfest on numerous occasions along with sharing stages with the likes of Zoax, Feed The Rhino and Chelsea Grin just to name a few. December 2017 sees Core of iO release ‘Part II: Europa’, their third EP in a series of four, based on moons of Jupiter. However, the numbers do count backwards work towards ‘Part I’.
With this EP we get exactly what we’ve always had from the south coast outfit, a level of technical intricacy that will blow your socks off and an array of a mixture time signatures that will just mess with your brain. We’ll start with the single track and EP opener, ‘Stuck’, which kicks things off with an ominous “Mission Impossible” style guitar melody that breaks into pure headbanging grooves. Each instrument hooks you in separately; the complicated beats, the funky bass rhythms and the tapped finger work on the guitar fret just makes you question your own musical talent. All the while Bob Tett sings about the struggles of dead-end jobs in a catchier manner than I anticipated; the vocal melody during the chorus certainly gets stuck in your head.
While the impressive musicianship was there, the opener actually felt a bit simple compared to what I was expecting based on the former material. That was soon rectified with ‘Hit the River Hard’, the rhythms and fiddly little hooks became more frantic, along with the time signatures. This is where the talents of Core of iO truly reveal themselves, along with Tett unloading on his aggression with some nice throaty roars to balance out with his quite clean shouting singy segments. It’s a hard-hitting number that could send a room into complete pandemonium; the heaviness and that chaotic nature would match the aesthetics of a mosh pit.
We close the EP with ‘Lenuta’, a nine-minute epic that starts rather melodically and with calm, plucking guitar rhythms and Tett’s soft cleans lulling you in nicely. Slowly but surely, however, you can feel the crescendo in overall tone, and soon the song breaks into a prog metal masterpiece with more complexity. The fiddly little melodies poke through the attention-grabbing rhythms that swerve any kind of normal pattern. The drum work is all over the pace, from steady beats to frantic fills, it some comes out like a headfuck to those who like their music simple. Midway through we do get a brief steady riff segment to rock out to, but the rest of the track is a pure labyrinth of instrumental technique.
This isn’t my usual jam, but I completely respect everything about this release. The musical entrancement that I experience live is matched in these recordings. Every time I see Core of iO I just feel wowed by this band’s proficiency, and I can say the same with ‘Part II: Europa’. The EP is really well written, and the delivery of it is spot on.
For fans of Tool, The Fall of Troy
Check out our interview feature with the band here
Check out the video for ‘Stuck’ here