Wills Dissolve - Echoes review



Reviewer:
9.0

39 users:
8.00
Band: Wills Dissolve
Album: Echoes
Release date: August 2020


01. Echoes


When I first heard the name Wills Dissolve, I expected an Isis clone post-metal band; instead, Echoes is an extreme prog epic of the finest quality.

Doing a single-song album is always a bold move, particularly on a sophomore record. And yet Houston quartet Wills Dissolve, presumably named after the track from Isis' Panopticon, have absolutely nailed it with Echoes, a single 30-minute track narrating the journey of an astronaut headed towards a black hole. The album is spacious, with stretches of semi-ambient atmosphere, yet not a second of the runtime feels wasted or superfluous. Although Echoes is primarily melodic, the band are still very capable of switching to heavier approaches, with extreme metal patches scattered across the album. With a great feel for pacing, compositional structure, melody and atmosphere, Wills Dissolve have delivered a record that is seamless, engrossing and hugely replayable.

Perhaps due to its position at the forefront of one-song metal albums, I can hear a hint of Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness by Green Carnation during the gradual build-up of the opening few minutes of Echoes, as the guitars take form and the electronics develop the atmosphere. Both clean and harsh vocals appear on Echoes, but the former turn up first, and whoever does the sung vocals on the record (there are three individuals credited as vocalists on their Bandcamp) has a rich, evocative tone. The tone of the music is somewhat melancholic in these first couple of minutes, but a gradual sense of menace and danger creeps into the melodies used by the band, until the first heavy crunch and growls take over. I would say these initial early riffs don't quite fulfil the sense of expectation built by the introduction; however, once the first shredding guitar solo emerges, the band slickly transitions into a far more powerful segment driven by emphatic double bass rolls.

From that point on, it's segment after segment of beauty or intensity, whether it's a delicate acoustic guitar/lead guitar solo combo that nails the sense of joy that early Dream Theater could deliver at their best, a Kalisia-esque extreme sci-fi prog sound with Cynic-style vocoder vocal effects, a slack, atmospheric jam that has me thinking of New Keepers Of The Water Towers amongst other bands, or a dozen more parts. There are plenty of potential band references that came to mind whilst listening to Echoes, including Persefone (particularly in the softer moments), Riverside, Devin Townsend, Opeth, Obscura and Arcturus. However, Echoes doesn't feel like a collage of the work of others, but its own beast, one inspired by the history of metal but formed into a distinctive standalone work that can be entirely enjoyed on its own merits.

I was trying to find anything in the record I could constructively critique to provide some balance; however, aside from that initial minute or so during which the metal first appears (which feels slightly underwhelming when set against the rest of the record), I'm struggling to come up with anything really. I probably find myself slightly preferring the more melodic prog parts of the album, but the extreme sections are very effectively employed to convey the increasing distress and peril of the astronaut. These sections vary, whether featuring more up-tempo blasting and the use of disorienting dissonant guitar solos, or slowing down and taking things in a doom direction near the end (when the astronaut is succumbing to the void). Wills Dissolve are also very adept at mixing up the use of clean and harsh vocals during the metallic portions of Echoes for maximum impact, with the slightly Persefone-esque clean vocal tone really adding to the album's atmosphere.

Capped off by a scintillating guitar solo and soothing flute outro, Echoes is an excellent album from a young band, pure and simple, and the first one released in the second half of 2020 that I can envisage myself returning to regularly for years to come. Wills Dissolve didn't deliver the Isis worship I was expecting from their name; they produced something far more exciting.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 29.08.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 6   Visited by: 112 users
29.08.2020 - 20:10
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
That was absolutely amazing I have to agree with you
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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29.08.2020 - 20:11
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I really feel like if someone is gonna come around and publish another 9.0 review, the site will win a jackpot
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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29.08.2020 - 20:38
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 29.08.2020 at 20:11

I really feel like if someone is gonna come around and publish another 9.0 review, the site will win a jackpot


I was slightly hesitant to give a 9 given you just did, but considering the only other thing I've enjoyed this much on first listens in 2020 is Psychonaut, I felt it justified getting the same score
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29.08.2020 - 21:36
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Light of Day... is one of my few 10-rated albums so just the mention of that is more than enough for me to be interested.

Apologies Radu, I lied about the funeral doom being on top of my list. This just replaced it for tonight's playlist.
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I have no memory of this place.
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29.08.2020 - 21:40
musclassia
Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.08.2020 at 21:36

Light of Day... is one of my few 10-rated albums so just the mention of that is more than enough for me to be interested.

Apologies Radu, I lied about the funeral doom being on top of my list. This just replaced it for tonight's playlist.


Sadly the similarities aren't present throughout; hopefully I don't mislead you into thinking they're very similar and make you very disappointed by it.

Still, it's only 30 minutes, so you can probably squeeze in the funeral doom if it doesn't work for you
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29.08.2020 - 21:43
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by musclassia on 29.08.2020 at 21:40

Sadly the similarities aren't present throughout; hopefully I don't mislead you into thinking they're very similar and make you very disappointed by it.

Still, it's only 30 minutes, so you can probably squeeze in the funeral doom if it doesn't work for you

Don't worry, I read the rest of the review and you did a solid job explaining what this sounds like, so any disappointment I feel will only be due to the music as opposed to expectation.
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I have no memory of this place.
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