Review from Metal Storm

September 1, 2020
From: Metal Storm
Published: August 29, 2020

When I first heard the name Wills Dissolve, I expected an Isis clone post-metal band; instead, Echoes is an extreme prog epic of the finest quality.

Doing a single-song album is always a bold move, particularly on a sophomore record. And yet Houston quartet Wills Dissolve, presumably named after the track from Isis' Panopticon, have absolutely nailed it with Echoes, a single 30-minute track narrating the journey of an astronaut headed towards a black hole. The album is spacious, with stretches of semi-ambient atmosphere, yet not a second of the runtime feels wasted or superfluous. Although Echoes is primarily melodic, the band are still very capable of switching to heavier approaches, with extreme metal patches scattered across the album. With a great feel for pacing, compositional structure, melody and atmosphere, Wills Dissolve have delivered a record that is seamless, engrossing and hugely replayable.

Perhaps due to its position at the forefront of one-song metal albums, I can hear a hint of Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness by Green Carnation during the gradual build-up of the opening few minutes of Echoes, as the guitars take form and the electronics develop the atmosphere. Both clean and harsh vocals appear on Echoes, but the former turn up first, and whoever does the sung vocals on the record (there are three individuals credited as vocalists on their Bandcamp) has a rich, evocative tone. The tone of the music is somewhat melancholic in these first couple of minutes, but a gradual sense of menace and danger creeps into the melodies used by the band, until the first heavy crunch and growls take over. I would say these initial early riffs don't quite fulfil the sense of expectation built by the introduction; however, once the first shredding guitar solo emerges, the band slickly transitions into a far more powerful segment driven by emphatic double bass rolls.

From that point on, it's segment after segment of beauty or intensity, whether it's a delicate acoustic guitar/lead guitar solo combo that nails the sense of joy that early Dream Theater could deliver at their best, a Kalisia-esque extreme sci-fi prog sound with Cynic-style vocoder vocal effects, a slack, atmospheric jam that has me thinking of New Keepers Of The Water Towers amongst other bands, or a dozen more parts. There are plenty of potential band references that came to mind whilst listening to Echoes, including Persefone (particularly in the softer moments), Riverside, Devin Townsend, Opeth, Obscura and Arcturus. However, Echoes doesn't feel like a collage of the work of others, but its own beast, one inspired by the history of metal but formed into a distinctive standalone work that can be entirely enjoyed on its own merits.

I was trying to find anything in the record I could constructively critique to provide some balance; however, aside from that initial minute or so during which the metal first appears (which feels slightly underwhelming when set against the rest of the record), I'm struggling to come up with anything really. I probably find myself slightly preferring the more melodic prog parts of the album, but the extreme sections are very effectively employed to convey the increasing distress and peril of the astronaut. These sections vary, whether featuring more up-tempo blasting and the use of disorienting dissonant guitar solos, or slowing down and taking things in a doom direction near the end (when the astronaut is succumbing to the void). Wills Dissolve are also very adept at mixing up the use of clean and harsh vocals during the metallic portions of Echoes for maximum impact, with the slightly Persefone-esque clean vocal tone really adding to the album's atmosphere.

Capped off by a scintillating guitar solo and soothing flute outro, Echoes is an excellent album from a young band, pure and simple, and the first one released in the second half of 2020 that I can envisage myself returning to regularly for years to come. Wills Dissolve didn't deliver the Isis worship I was expecting from their name; they produced something far more exciting.

Rating: 9/10
Reviewed by: musclassia

Review from Wonderbox Metal

August 27, 2020
From: Wonderbox Metal
Published: August 27, 2020

This is the second album from Wills Dissolve, a progressive metal band from the US.

Wills Dissolve play a multigenre form of progressive metal that takes in a range of other styles and subgenres. Progressive black/death metal, post-metal, ambient, doom metal, and progressive rock are all included in Echoes, and all get their moments to shine. The album consists of a single 32-minute track. It’s a future-themed extreme progressive me...

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Review from Musipedia of Metal

August 25, 2020
From: Musipedia of Metal
Published: August 25, 2020

Wills Dissolve have been in existence in Houston, Texas since 2015. In their 5 years together Wills Dissolve have made quite a bit of noise; their 2018 debut The Heavens Are Not On Fire was incredibly well received. The bands blend of Death Metal and Prog as well as the deeply intelligent nature of the albums subject matter and lyrics (based around the 1833 Leonid meteor shower, and how this affected people's religious beliefs) wo...

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Review from Metal Utopia

August 25, 2020
From: Metal Utopia
Published: August 25, 2020

In 2018, Texas trio Wills Dissolve came out with their first release “The Heavens Are Not on Fire…”, an album that in my opinion undeservedly flew under the radar. Why so? One complaint I heard about the album back then was that it was derivative. And yeah, few minutes into he first song and you’re thinking “wow, this sounds like Opeth!” Yes, Wills Dissolve indeed wear their influences on their sleeve (if the Isis song names...

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Review from Rock Queen Reviews

August 25, 2020
From: Rock Queen Reviews
Published: August 22, 2020

‘Echoes’, from Houston, Texas prog, black/death metal band Wills Dissolve is the new epic 32 minute single, following their debut full-length, ‘The Heavens Are Not On Fire’. Based on the vagaries of space exploration, from the astronaut’s perspective, in a scenario in which, Earth is no longer habitable. Conceptually, at its heart is the destructive consequences of the actions of humans. Covering various genres, includin...

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Review from Echoes and Dust

August 18, 2020
From: Echoes and Dust
Published: August 14, 2020

Extreme metal and science fiction are strange bedfellows. Certainly, in a style more strongly associated with po-faced snarling, or unironic attempts to summon the devil, singing about astronauts, aliens and outer space seems somehow ludicrous, a pastime reserved solely for silly curiosities. There are exceptions, of course; Voivod, Vektor and Darkspace, among others have gathered legions of admirers, and made fairly successful caree...

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Review from Toilet Ov Hell

August 6, 2020
From: Toilet Ov Hell
Published: August 6, 2020 

Hail science. Hail the endless void.

We first heard about Wills Dissolve around these parts when a wooden object/actor premiered a track off their debut back in 2018. Despite using nonsense words like “Opethian” and “Texas,” he stirred some excitement for the band’s brand of progressive death metal that didn’t (and still doesn’t) shirk away from incorporating all manner of genres in service of their tales.

And rather grand...

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Review from My Music Path

August 5, 2020
From: My Music Path
Published: August 4, 2020

With just one track that lasts half an hour the band from Houston, Texas takes you on a journey into the endless void of space. To name their record 'Echoes' takes guts. Obviously, the band is hugely influenced by Pink Floyd and their masterpiece 'Echoes' is unparalleled. However, Wills Dissolve pulls out all the stops. They paint a science fictional picture of a star-filled purple vortex. In the end, a giant black hole lurks, like the ...

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Review from Metal Temple

July 30, 2020
From: Metal Temple
Published: July 30, 2020 

Hailing from Houston, Texas, WILLS DISSOLVE was formed in late 2015 in Houston, Texas by Guitarist/Vocalists Nick Block and Andrew Caruana brought together by their love of Progressive, Doom, and Extreme Metal. They were joined shortly by Black/Death metal Drummer Branson Heinz and Bassist Shaun Weller; a veteran of the Punk/Metal scene in his home state of Michigan. Drawing on such diverse influences as OPETH, ISIS, ENSLAVED, and SWALLO...

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 Released: August 28, 2020
Genre: Progressive Metal
(Prog-rock, Black Metal, Ambient