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Weird death metal - 77%

Daemonlord, May 17th, 2014

Diskord hail from Norway, and have had an unflinching penchant for blasting out dissonant, progressive and downright weird death metal since forming in 1999. Having released their second album ‘Dystopics’ on the ‘No Posers Please!’ label in 2012, Diskord’s debut album ‘Doomscapes’ was out of print for all their new fans desperate to get their hands on it. Thus, up steps Hellthrasher Productions to re-issue it, along with a bonus disc of their earlier 2003 demo ‘Aural Abjection’ to sweeten the deal even further.

Well, despite being called ‘Doomscapes’, Diskord’s debut really isn’t a doomy album at all. The album has a very dry sound, with strange riffs that sound hugely different to most other death metal you will likely have heard recently. Occasionally they blast the shit out of their instruments, or they decide to let their chords ring out for a full on spooky dissonant effect. Mostly though, they like to incorporate an almost punky vibe with their dehydrated bass and drums and have their cheese grater guitars slice and pound alongside the venomous spat vocals for a very refreshing sound overall. The track ‘Harbinger’ sums up a lot of what the album has to offer. It has an extremely speedy opening, with swarming guitars and drums all clamouring for position… before breaking into silence, then a pounding heart beat like bass moment, before shooting back into the riff salad madness. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their style, but is a good example of what you can expect throughout.

As a whole, there’s an odd, almost inverted progressive style of guitar riffage of ‘Doomscapes’ which not only grinds like hell, but also gives occasional nods to the avant-garde strangeness of mid-period Carbonized, early Pungent Stench or Disharmonic Orchestra. Hell, there’s even the odd prang of ‘Obscura’ era Gorguts in their sound from time to time. Overall, a pretty decent effort and a nice change from the slew of cookie cutter death metal bands.

The band’s early ‘Aural Abjection’ demo which comes on the bonus disc of this re-issue doesn’t have quite the same full bodied production as ‘Doomscapes’ – but you’d expect this seeing as it’s a demo. Still, the bands style is still very much the same as their debut album, with progressive staccato riffage jerking and spasming throughout the strange time signatures of the opening instrumental ‘Havoc Intermezzo’, before carrying on for first track proper ‘Instauration’ which comes off very much like the aforementioned Pungent Stench, albeit with an even weirder riffing style.

Overall, this is a nice little package. The music on ‘Doomscapes’ just about trumps the music on the demo disc, but there’s still some good stuff to be heard on ‘Aural Abjection’ too (especially the first couple of tracks). If you like extreme metal with a real avant-garde vibe, twisted riffing and songs that keep you guessing, this could well be a decent purchase for you.

Originally written for www.avenoctum.com

A weird, fantastic gem - 95%

dalecooper, June 22nd, 2010

You can tell just looking at the cover of "Doomscapes" (which isn't really that doomy, by the way) that it's going to either suck out loud or blow your mind. Luckily, at least for me, it's all the latter and none of the former.

Where do these guys come from? Norway? What is in the water over there? Norway's status as the go-to country for classic second wave black metal seems to have freed up its scant handful of death metal bands to do whatever the unholy fuck they feel like. For example, the early death metal days of Darkthrone - try asking for albums that sound like "Soulside Journey" and see what you get (answer: some death metal albums with keyboards that don't sound much like "Soulside Journey").

And Diskord is definitely weirder. Who are their models? Seven or eight listens into this album, I still can't quite put my finger on it. I hear all kinds of peculiar, not-that-influential bands in the mix: the truly avant strangeness of Gorguts; the techy death/thrash of Martyr; the upside-down riffing of Demilich; the weird sonic signature of The Chasm, maybe; the dry sound and grind influence and avant garde bizarreness of Disharmonic Orchestra... I'm running out of points of reference. More than anything, Diskord sound like themselves. They have a tremendously self-assured style, perhaps as a result of existing for six or seven years before they put this album out. Or perhaps it just comes from some inner consistency of vision and creative voice that can't be conjured from nowhere or imitated - you simply have it, or you don't. Diskord have it in spades.

The sound of "Doomscapes" contributes much to that "can't place it" feeling. The guitar tone is peculiar, like a couple of bees duking it out with a guy who has a chronic rattling cough. The vocals are also dry and raspy, so you get an unusual sonic effect from the whole thing. It's certainly not atmospheric in any conventional sense, but neither is it clean enough to be "clinical." The oddball, dominating bass lines take it to another place as well; it's rare to encounter an album where you'll spend so much time hoping the bass comes up for a solo or key melody soon. The drums are maybe the least remarkable part of the band, but still are doing things that could only work in this particular context. Diskord definitely sound like a unit; I'd be hard-pressed to remove any of their members and identify a suitable replacement. It might explain my difficulty if I said that it seemed like any random member of Primus might be better suited to play in this band than, say, a member of Incantation or Nile or Suffocation or whoever else.

Bottom line - if you like the weird outer limits of extreme metal, you need this CD. And you'll probably end up like me, desperately hoping they do another one. "Doomscapes," maybe - I would have called it "Mindscapes," which ain't exactly original, but does conjure some idea of how much this release engages my brain every time I put it on.