The Echoes of Silence - 2013 Remixed & Expanded 2CD Edition
Traditionally, Australia has supplied such great - albeit not very many - bands to the world dark scene and continues to do so today. Not only that, but also these use to have a very personal sound through which the Gothic Rock style guidelines are strengthened and subtly advanced at the same time. With no doubt, IKON is one of the most resonating acts among those who have emerged from that land of contrasts. It's precisely in these, where their music's main attraction lies. Ahead of their time, the Australians were able to fusion Post-Punk, Synth Rock and Darkwave elements into a forward-looking Gothic Rock form, whilst the most of their contemporaries were limited to be copycats of the influential bands from the previous decade. IKON's distinctive sound has been constantly evolving and renewing throughout their two decades of legend making. Moreover, everything that made their music excellent in the past has been retained and also improved over the years, resulting in a more complex songwriting. The recent reissue of "The Echoes of Silence" (originally released in 1994) easily proves that.
Duly polished, remixed and modernised, this handful of classics shimmers now as never before. In addition to the EP's old tracks, the 2-CD set also includes three previously unreleased songs, some demo-tracks and the rough sketch versions of "Echoes of Silence" and "Truth". All the material were written by IKON's founding members Chris McCarter (guitars, keyboards, programming, drums) and Dino Molinaro (bass), along with the band's original singer Michael Carrodus (aka Aliani) nothing less than twenty years ago. Despite that, the repertoire sounds as if it had been composed yesterday. Together with their first full-length album "In The Shadow Of The Angel" (1994), this EP made these guys from Melbourne rise to prominence in the gothic circuits, signing to the renowned record labels Apollyon and Metropolis shortly after. Much has happened since then, but IKON's sonic essence remains unchanged. The well-rounded, prominent bass lines shore up the songs, along with the strong pulse set by the machines. Meantime, synth and guitar swirlings slip through the scant chinks of the rhythmical section, flavoring the soundscape with lush melodies and providing the precise atmosphere to the tracks. Deep, low and deliberately unadorned (in the style of Curtis or Gira), the vocals raise clear above the structure. Aliani's voice fits the backdrop as an extra bass line and it thereby becomes more dark and expressive. The title track, "Reality Is Lost", "Is This My Destiny?", "Fear" and the hitherto unheard "Everything I Want" are pretty representative of IKON's signature rock. Impelling bass chords, throbbing processed beats, sweeping synths and intense crossfire between guitars, ranging from the mellow to the moody, are the keys to these powerful club tracks for which this band is instantly recognized. However, not every track here is strictly oriented to fill the dancefloors. Thus, with the inspiring "Devotion" the pace slows down and melancholy makes its way through every piano note, guitar melody and vocal pitch. Also the previously unreleased "Changing" rocks in a Neofolk breeze, dreamy and evocative. Synths are expansive and solemn, as if they were echoes of the affected singing. In contrast, sheeny acoustic chords and keyboard harmonies pervade the reverie with their charm. Overall this song makes clear how pleasant the gloom can be. So this collection of songs is varied enough to catch the listener's interest. Not to mention the rare gems that have been included in the bonus CD, featuring exciting demos like the sinister cover version of The Beatle's "Eleanor Rigby" or the instrumental "Coldness Within", which itself is an accurate definition of Gothic Rock. Listening to "Which way to go", it's easy to note the influence of their compatriots Midnight Oil and the dub version of "So Far Away" hides under its catchy electronics an ominous undercurrent whose lengthened synth tones provide a dark 80s déjà vu (even though this feeling is subtly aroused by other tunes too). Also remarkable is the electronic demo of "Suicide". Compared with its official twin (originally released as part of "In The Shadow Of The Angel"), this version is more accelerated, gleaming and exuberant, featuring some extra guitar layers too.
In total, the 2-CD set includes twenty songs that give a comprehensive insight into the IKON's most influential era, when the Australians played a leading role in this genre's shaping process. Throughout the expanded reissue of "The Echoes of Silence", the band retells in their own modern sounds a relevant episode of the Gothic Rock's story, making easier to get in depth under the skin of it.
Review by Billyphobia