“Whereas THOUGHTS OF IONESCO was once a way for [guitarist/vocalist Sean Madigan] Hoen to combat the powerlessness of being unable to fix his familial strife, the rage that permeates Skar Cymbals finds its motivational locus in Donald Trump’s America.” — Invisible Oranges
Skar Cymbals is the first new studio output from long-defunct Detroit-based post-hardcore icons, THOUGHTS OF IONESCO, in nearly two decades. Slated to drop via Corpse Flower Records this Friday on limited color vinyl and digitally, the four-track EP was captured and mixed by Jeremy Mendicino with Dave DeCristo at Signal Kitchen in Burlington, Vermont in March 2017 with additional tracking by Gabe Doman at Pharmhouse Studio in Dearborn, Michigan, the whole acerbic package mastered by James Plotkin (OLD, Scorn, Khanate, Khlyst et al).
Today, Invisible Oranges is streaming the EP in full, issuing of the offering, “Whereas THOUGHTS OF IONESCO was once a way for [guitarist/vocalist Sean Madigan] Hoen to combat the powerlessness of being unable to fix his familial strife, the rage that permeates Skar Cymbals finds its motivational locus in Donald Trump’s America. In its fractured lyrics, opener ‘The Alt Light’ pinpoints the jangled mess that is our country’s political climate. Matching form with content, [Derek] Grant blazes through a labyrinth of disorienting rhythms and mirror-like fills. In Alkaline Trio, the drummer plays in service of the songs, often resulting in tasteful reserve. The four songs on Skar Cymbals are, by contrast, percussive explorations of the no man’s land between calculation and chaos.”
For preorders visit the Corpse Flower Records Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION.
In a recent investigation of the record, Burning Ambulance relays, “It boggles the mind to consider how progressive THOUGHTS OF IONESCO were during their initial late ’90s run, especially given their relative youth at the time. The world certainly wasn’t ready for them back then, and even now, they are far ahead of the curve compared to the vast majority of their peers. It is by no means clear that they plan to do much beyond this release, but we can certainly hope for more. There is a niche only they seem able to completely fill, and if they choose not to continue, they will certainly be missed.” Of THOUGHTS OF IONESCO‘s lyric video for ‘Culture Of The Eternal Snake,’ No Clean Singing notes, “most metal lyric videos forget the very important requirement that in order for a lyric video to work, the lyrics ought to actually be worth reading. The lyrics in “Culture Of The Eternal Snake” most definitely are, brayed and yelled and shrieked by a street-corner poet, to the accompaniment of a bruising, battering, borderline-deranged effusion of destructive and mercurial noise.” Adds Aversionline of the track “The Alt Light” specifically, “‘The Alt Light [Peer Clear]’… highlights the group’s more hectically abrasive side – complete with craggily jazzy chord phrasings, winding pathways of angular riffing, and one hell of a badassedly rock-solid rhythm section… The fifteen-plus-year absence has in no way lessened the severity or emotion of their drive.”
THOUGHTS OF IONESCO will play a special record release show this Saturday June 24th.
THOUGHTS OF IONESCO:
6/24/2017 The Magic Stick – Detroit, MI [tickets]
Recording their first record when two-thirds of the band members were still in high school and breaking up when most were barely twenty-one-years old, it’s a wonder that the infamous Detroit outfit THOUGHTS OF IONESCO even lasted the few years that they did. Confrontational to audiences, uninterested in record labels, exceedingly dark and heavy, the band played music that was once referred to by Alternative Press magazine as, “the ultimate realization of pain through sound.” Forged in 1996, the hardcore, art-damaged soul of THOUGHTS OF IONESCO materialized around vocalist/guitarist Sean Hoen, bassist Nathan Miller, and drummer Brian Repa; the band also included a sax player by the end of its career. Repa left and returned several times during the band’s existence, and Derek Grant (ex-Suicide Machines, Alkaline Trio) served as his replacement for a stretch from 1997-1998.
The trio, whose collective mental stability was often called into question by even those close to them, was most often compared to My War-era Black Flag, mixing hatred and aggression with super-heavy riffs, free jazz exploration, a brutal live show, and hefty doses of nihilism, self-loathing, and pure masochistic rage to produce a sound wholly challenging and frequently misunderstood. THOUGHTS OF IONESCO was in a class of their own; their performances were notoriously destructive – instruments were smashed in minutes, walls were kicked in, blood was shed, bottles were thrown – as the bandmembers showed absolutely no regard for themselves or the “fans” they couldn’t be bothered to care about. For them, only the music mattered. They toured the country and Canada a few times over, most notably with their friends in Wallside, but due to the inaccessibility of their records, they remained obscure (though rather revered) upon their eventual implosion in 1999. THOUGHTS OF IONESCO played their last show that November in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Several years later, the guys reappeared on the Detroit music scene with new bands: Hoen in The Holy Fire and Leaving Rouge, Miller in The Holy Fire, and Repa with Paradise. Seventh Rule eventually collected the band’s recorded output – including releases on Makoto (1996’s The Triptych Session, 1997’s …And Then There Was Motion, and 1998’s A Skin Historic, which Spin Magazine called, “an art-core mindfuck”) and At Arms Mechanic (1999’s For Detroit, From Addiction, released 2001) – into the compilation The Scar Is Our Watermark. Issued in June 2006, the album also included a bonus in-depth documentary DVD that chronicled the band’s brief, volatile career with live footage and interviews.