Telling us that your brand new metal band is “as metal as metal gets” is a surefire way to get our musical antennae to full attention. And that’s exactly what was promised by Derbyshire band IO, who also describe their sound as “heavy, loud and aggressive” – tick, tick and tick.
And when we say a band… well, it’s not quite a full band just yet as IO is the brainchild of one man, Mike Webster. The IO project began in January through what Mike describes as “a combination of unfortunate circumstances and dissatisfaction with the current state of the times we find ourselves living in.” They’ve since released three tracks, ahead of the upcoming debut album Out of Knowhere, which we can exclusively reveal will be released on 6 December.
On IO’s beginnings, Mike explains: “I decided to vent my frustrations through writing heavy music. Experimenting on my own with the idea of balancing memorable, well thought out songs with intricate frequency manipulation and chaotic aggression, as well as combining brutal guitar playing with heavy drum grooves and my own signature vocal style, to bring something fresh to the modern metal scene.
“After locking myself away from the world for months and months to focus fully on the project; by the time April came around, IO was born. At the moment, I serve up all aspects of the music in terms of lyrics, vocals, guitars and bass performances, as well as all writing, programming, engineering and production. That said, IO is currently recruiting additional members for a full lineup to take IO out on the road in 2020.”
And the result is pretty damn impressive if latest track Over?!, which was released back in May, is anything to go by. It dives straight into the heavy stuff with a low chugging guitar giving way to heavy low-tuned guitars, a big guttural scream alongside cool darting synth sounds and huge double bass drum.
Gruff cries of “This is the point of no return” come in as the relentless metal riffs continue. Palm-muted guitars support more screamed vocals, then a cool low-tuned diving riff takes over. The track is packed with booming metal riffs, with a wild blitzing high-pitched riff mid-way through returning to the intense low-tuned metal goodness. Give it a listen below:
Over?! follows the release of We Want It All and debut track Day 1, which opens with big drum hits and a savage blitz of opening guitars. The chugging guitars continue under brutal vocals that end on a wild scream then livelier guitars and seriously heavy drums. It’s super-heavy stuff and you can give it a listen below:
Describing the IO sound, Mike tells us: “Eight-string guitars, thundering bass, no clean vocals, pummeling double kicks, continuous onslaughts of memorable heavy riffs and unique songwriting. All of it wrapped in headbanging grooves, fast tempos, crazy harmonics, and some of the most powerful, bone-chilling vocal performances you’ll hear in modern metal today.”
This comes from key influences like Strapping Young Lad, Gojira, Car Bomb, Ion Dissonance and The Acacia Strain, as well as musicians like Joshua Travis, Devin Townsend, CJ McMahon and Tyler Shelton.
And on what inspires him to write music, he explains: “The key themes in the music are essentially following a journey of self-discovery. Topics of betrayal, rage, self-evolution, hitting the bottom, reaching the brink of insanity and eventual rebirth; to then take a look at human nature, what it means to be human, how precious our time on this earth really is, and to then become the person you’ve always wanted to be.”
There’s plenty coming from IO, with the debut album out on 6 December, then gigs to be announced for mid-2020, and Mike is already working on new material for their next release.
And, as Mike adds: “I really want to take the opportunity to thank all of our Day 1 Fans that continue to support us and spread the word about us – this is only the beginning!”