Though this is the first I’ve heard of Thoughts of Ionesco, the band has quite the back story. Formed in the mid-90’s when they were still in high school, they developed a sound like My War and a reputation for beating the crap out of each other on stage while opening for the likes of Botch, Converge, Coalesce and His Hero is Gone. They released a handful of records on some small local labels before calling it a day over 15 years ago… and now, in their mid-30’s, they’re back with a new EP.
Skar Cymbals starts off with “The Alt Light,” which quickly kicks into a downtuned cacophony of slick noise-rock riffs. Vocals come in as an anguished wail above some vicious breakdowns, while the drums go completely nuts. I can hear the latter-day Black Flag influence, but this also has some major post-hardcore vibes. A frantic burst of riffage begins “Culture of the Eternal Snake,” before it settles into more of a mid-paced hardcore groove a la Cro-Mags. Beginning around the 1:20 mark, they alternate between spoken-word vocals and frantic math-rock riffs before getting back into the stomp of things, eventually picking up the pace in the back half. “Salutations” has a slightly more metallic sheen, sounding somewhat like Strapping Young Lad with its jagged riffs and frantic breakdowns.
The album ends on an extended note, with the 13-minute “Scar Symbols.” This one takes a little while to get going, as it meanders along a mixture of mellower melodic riffs and brutally scathing vocals, throwing in some robotic vocals amidst some slower, sparser guitar work around the three-minute mark. Finally, at about four-and-a-half minutes in, we get some semblance of their post-hardcore roots, as the band launches its first attack just past the five-minute mark. They even throw in a jazzy drum solo around the nine-minute mark, before shifting to an eerie, goth-rock approach, ending on one final frantic hardcore flourish. I could probably do without the long buildup, but that’s my only complaint on an otherwise excellent EP.