IO Earth - 'New World'

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IO Earth - 'New World'

Amazingly across nearly two hours of music, IOE create combinations of style and substance.

IO Earth work in cycles; 2009 providing their self-titled debut, 2012 the much lauded follow-up 'Moments', and now three years later we have 'New World'. The reason for these lengthy gaps? Well, purely to give the band time to craft and hone albums which, through a wealth of worthy material, evolve into two hour long, two disc entities; '...World' is no different.

If you've never experienced this band before, simply revel in the opening double of 'Move As One' – a floating piece which introduces new (to the studio) singer Linda Odinsen in remarkable style – before the Prog/Folk/Metal crossover
'Redemption' spins your head completely in the opposite direction. This is properly Progressive music, performed with a wide scope of influences and unafraid to mix things up; jagged riffs and thunderous drums as likely to drive the songs forward as violins, synths or Odinsen's seductive (and powerful when the need arises) voice, all to persuade you that '...World' has real depth.

'Journey To Discovery' oscillates on a bulging beat, Odinsen offering a truly breathtaking vocal bursting with energy, while the loosely Celtic Folk of 'Morning' whispers past on the breeze, acoustic guitar and gentle tambourine punctuated by piano, synths, flute, mandolin and once again that glorious voice – this time soothing and calming.

The journey continues beautifully and energetically on disc two, the album, while not conceptual, is based round engaging themes of discovery, overcoming adversity and moving on to better times. 'Insomnia' is an unsettling second opener, IOE brave enough to ease you in with a clockwork-like beat which gives way to expertly arranged strings, before the song explodes into a full-on Prog Metal workout where Dave Cureton confidently cranks his guitar up a notch.

'The Rising' takes the bold move of adding narration centred round the events of 9/11 as the song winds into life in a restrained, yet still unavoidably ear catching style, confirming that it's these metamorphosing atmospheres and textures which really set IOE apart from other bands in this sphere. '...World' closes on the superb title track, the most anthemic piece across these two discs played out on a pulsating beat and driving rhythm which is interspersed with yet more lush soundscapes and stunning vocals.

The production from Miguel Seco is second to none and if you ever required proof that independently released albums can compete on every level with the labels (the double fold out digi-pack is also exquisite), then it's right here. Amazingly across nearly two hours of music, IOE create combinations of style and substance which truly sets them apart from their peers and avoids obvious influences or a reliance on well worn structures avoided. That in itself is to be applauded, but when the results are this good, it's difficult not to be completely bowled over.

Welcome to the 'New World', welcome to IO Earth.

Steven Reid

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