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Third Ion - 13/8 Bit

Third Ion
13/8 Bit
by Calen Nesten at 21 June 2015, 9:47 PM

THIRD ION is a prog-rock band from North America who is obsessed with sci-fi and video games. They released their debut album “13/8 Bit” on May 25, 2015. I really didn't know how I felt about THIRD ION. They are all great musicians (particularly the bass. Slap that shit, homie!) and have all been playing professionally for years. And their use of goofy video game sounds makes them stand out from many other prog-rock acts. Those traits are usually good enough for me. But here I am, sitting here listening, going between “hell yes!” and “what the hell?”  It's not the theme, or the instrumentation, I like the “video-game-sci-fi” angle THIRD ION has going on, riffs will randomly incorporate synth-sounds and guitar/bass solos straight out of an NES game. Maybe it's the vocals? They just don't sit with me and I really don't know why. The singer has a good voice, one that reminds me of 90's nu-metal, good 90's nu-metal but it still seems a bit out of place. The vocals rely a little too much on reverb to the point where it sounds like apathetic auto-tune, but I'm likely just used to my prog singers sounding like shrieking old ladies (COHEED AND CAMBRIA, RUSH, etc.).

I really do enjoy THIRD ION though; I can't hate a band with a track named “Van hAlien” (which is one of the best tracks on the album). It just seems like some of the tracks teeter on the generic with songs like “Capitol Spill” and  “Time Lapse Beta”. But as soon as I think “ugh, over it” THIRD ION pulls something out of nowhere that surprises me and pulls me right back in. You never know what to expect with each track musically, they change it up minute after minute and you can really get caught up in the sci-fi noises the band produces. And as much shit as I gave the vocals, they carry a heavy emotional weight, sort of like they are trying to convey the hopelessness or ennui of humans within the cosmos.  THIRD ION is worth checking out for any fan of prog-rock, they are fun, unique and extremely talented. I think I'm going to give the album another spin though, this time while playing through Metroid. Maybe it will give me the drive to finally destroy Mother Brain once and for all!

3 Star Rating

1. 13/8 Bit
2. Capitol Spill
3. Zero Mass
4. Collapse
5. Particle Displacement Mechanism
6. The Kineticist
7. Time Lapse Beta (Father Time Machine/Nihilum/Chronos of Aether)
8. Van hAlien
Mike Young - Bass
Aaron Edgar - Drums
Justin Bender - Guitar, Keyboard
Tyler Gilbert - Vocals
Record Label: Glasstone Records


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