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Thoughts of Ionesco The Scar Is Our Watermark

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Thoughts of Ionesco - The Scar Is Our Watermark
01. For An End
02. Reach
03. Upward, Inward, And Under
04. Wishing The War
05. Learning An Enemy
06. And None Were Human
07. Bury Me In My Silhouette
08. Theory Versus Catatonia
09. The Scar Is Our Watermark
10. Withdrawal Syndrome
11. Randall
12. I
13. Blamesday
14. Figure
15. Waiting On Their War
2006 Seventh Rule Recordings

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Reviewed by: Cory   //   Published: 6/29/2006

It is often only in retrospect that many can understand and appreciate true artistry and innovation. The combination of this fifteen track retrospective CD and the accompanying DVD documentary will undoubtedly open the eyes of music fans across the board to Thoughts of Ionesco one of the most aggressive, abrasive and progressive groups to emerge in the mid-90's. Like their namesake, the great absurdist Eugene Ionesco, the band's disconnect with the audience was a source of frustration. This, along with drug addiction and mental illness ultimately led to the group's demise in 1999, but The Scar Is Our Watermark documents their existence. The CD portion of this release is a compilation containing tracks spanning the group's recorded career as well as five previously unreleased tracks, sequenced with more regard for aesthetics than chronology. The DVD is a feature length documentary that both chronicles the band's troubled duration and presents a fascinating glimpse into the world of those living with mental illness and social disorders. Together, they paint a vivid portrait of a band too explosive to survive and too inventive to be forgotten.

Their sound was forged out of equal parts punk rock, sludge and free jazz, and often sounded as if it could have been a distant evolution of Black Flag or Bad Brains (The disc includes a cover of "I"), had either given in to their most primal aggression. There has never been a band that sounded quite like this and there likely never will be again. Anchored by vocalist/guitarist Sean Hoen and bassist Nathan Miller, the group had two very different drummers, the utterly insane Brian Repa (Paradise) and the immensely talented Derek Grant (Alkaline Trio, Suicide Machines, etc.), who each brought something unique to the band during their tenure. Finally, the band often featured saxophonist Scott Bridges, something that works very well in the context of the band's all-out sensory assault. What's interesting about Thoughts of Ionesco is that, as bizarre as their approach and technique may have been, their music could appeal to different kinds of music fans on nearly every level. There is technical prowess and complex songwriting, but the music never upstages the raw emotion and intensity of the band playing it.

The band members obviously intended this music to appeal to themselves above all and precisely because of this, its intelligence appeals to a listener's intellect while its raw power supplies pure adrenaline with every listen. Sean Hoen's lyrics, as highlighted in the documentary, are simultaneously sophisticated and primal. Although they aren't included in the booklet for this particular release, the liner notes are still rather compelling and offer the reader Hoen's personal reflections on the band's rocky road and his own personal life afterwards.

Because of the format of the disc, it would work well as either an introduction to the band or a companion to their discography. The unreleased tracks and interesting sequencing make it essential for previous fans, while the ten previously released tracks offer a diverse look at the best of the best Thoughts of Ionesco had to offer. Unfortunately, the documentary doesn't prove to be quite as essential. While the interview style of the documentary tells the group's story effectively, the way most of the footage is shot is frankly distracting and the graphics and titles look very amateurish. It's honestly kind of a shame because there is definitely a lot of interesting subtext hinted at but never realized. The story is compelling enough that this documentary could have gained a substantial audience on a festival circuit were it shot and edited more skillfully. As is, the documentary is an excellent companion to the music but little more.

Bottom Line: While it was most likely the band's abrasive personality and drug-induced antics that kept them from fame while bands like Botch, His Hero Is Gone and Converge rose into the hardcore/punk limelight, this retrospective and documentary finally give Thoughts of Ionesco some of the respect they deserve. While I don't have any complaints about the music or the recordings, the documentary is far from perfect. Regardless, this is an absolutely essential package for any fan of abrasive, intelligent music, whether they are familiar with the group already or not.

Comments
Mike Warden_   posted 7/10/2006 1:14:12 PM
What I want to know is did you enjoy my performence and or my appearance in the video?

also CTW re released the 2nd and 3rd albums digital and also did an exclusive live ep most recently.

www.conquertheworld.com
ckk_   posted 7/3/2006 8:14:34 PM
seen this band like 8 years ago. they are from MI. they are ok.
james_   posted 6/30/2006 1:27:17 PM
crushing band! sweet album.
savemefromtheoutsideworld_   posted 6/30/2006 11:07:43 AM
fantastic band. i got this in the mail a few days ago... i still need to watch it :(
thisaintsweettea_   posted 6/30/2006 4:09:58 AM
this band is still around?





























JK

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