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Some of the Best Grindcore I’ve Ever Heard! - 100%

Vincevon, November 20th, 2022

While trying to expand my knowledge of grindcore bands I came across Discordance Axis. A band from New Jersey and has a unique sound. Sounded like it was for me. And boy, was it ever.

First of all, the album cover does not reflect the music inside. It’s this beautiful ocean with an amazing sky, something that would be in like a relaxation soundtrack or something. And for me, it does just that. Relaxes. Sure, it could have been more interesting but it's nice, I guess. This and “Colors” by Between the Buried and Me are great relaxation pieces. Sure, an acquired taste for relaxation but amazingly relaxing for me.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the music here. In grindcore fashion, most of the songs are less than a minute long. Something that is not in grindcore fashion is the fact that this amazing vocalist, Jon Chang, has this horrifying shriek that is sure to spook anyone, even the toughest people around. Usually in grindcore, it’s this very low pitched voice but not here. Now, Chang does also use the low pitch, mostly featured in the song “Vacuum Sleeve” and his low pitch is really guttural and sounds great. Another highlight is Dave Witte, the drummer. Definitely one of my favorite drummers moving forward. It’s not blast beats all the way through, he adds a lot of groove and progressive elements in it to keep it really interesting. Another highlight (I’m just naming everybody in the band at this point) is the guitarist Rob Marton. These riffs are spectacular. Hugely groovy and chuggy and blazing fast when it needs to be. There could be some melody but this is grindcore after all, thus it is exempted.

Strangely enough, with seventeen songs of pure insanity, it never gets boring. This is odd, especially in grindcore. If you listen to “Scum” by Napalm Death (the album that invented grindcore), there are many songs where you just sort of zone out and it’s a bunch of noise, but never here. On songs like track ten, “Loveless” where the music stops and it’s just the screaming it’s stunning. Really stunning. That part gives me shivers. Or on track seventeen, “A Leaden Stride to Nowhere” with the doomy breakdowns. It’s hard to forget tracks like these.

The lyrics here are exemplary. Highly metaphoric and interesting, not about regular grindcore stuff like politics or killing or something shallow like that.

Here on Metal Archives it says that Rob Marton left because he got seizures from standing too close to the amp during shows. But in a 2001 article from Lambgoat it says “Due to severe ear damage, guitarist Rob Marton will no longer be able to play with the band. Rather than continue without him, the band has chosen to lay the group to rest.” Whatever the reason may be for breaking up, it’s sad that they had to break up. This band is easily one of my favorite bands I found this year. This musicality here is exquisite and the vocals are screamed to perfection. A really flawless album.

Highlights: Vacuum Sleeve, The Necropolitan, The Third Children

The singularity - 95%

robotiq, September 29th, 2021

Wow...

Like many people of a certain age, I was fortunate enough to hear "The Inalienable Dreamless" when it came out. This record was hyped. People spoke about it in hushed tones. Almost overnight, everyone seemed to be talking about this obscure band called Discordance Axis. The band had existed for almost a decade, but this album boosted them from the punk/hardcore/DIY distro lists and into a wider arena. Such a transition could have spelled doom for lesser bands (and lesser albums). Not this one. This has the je ne sais quoi. You can sense it before you hear it. The band were confident enough to eschew grindcore cover-art tradition in favour of a sleek blue sky/ocean theme. They were also cocky enough to package this album in a DVD-style case, rather than the standard CD (jewel) case. The message was clear; this one is 'special'.

Musically, “The Inalienable Dreamless” represented the bleeding edge of extreme metal and hardcore at the time. I had never heard anything as clipped, as surgical or as ruthlessly efficient as this. These guys were taking grindcore into abstract, almost avant-garde levels of extremity. Sure, this was fast. It was one of the fastest records imaginable, but there is more to this than speed. This is a deceptive record where the speed comes from Dave Witte's mind-expanding drumming. The riffing is more varied and often operates at a different tempo. Many of the riffs follow a choppy, repeating pattern (with some glacial chord changes). Take the opening track ("Castration Rite") as an example. Those riffs could be played at any speed and it would still sound fast because of what Witte is doing. The riffs themselves are not dissimilar to earlier New Jersey hardcore acts like Rorschach and Deadguy, but Witte (ex-Human Remains) turbo-charges everything. There are moments where the two speeds appear in parallax, creating an aural illusion that captures calm and chaos in equal measure. I am an absolute sucker for this kind of thing.

These details elevate "The Inalienable Dreamless" above the legions of similarly fast, technical grind/metal/hardcore bands. The 'songs', if you can call them that, tend to last about a minute (sometimes more, sometimes less). They are all accomplished mini-masterpieces in their own right. Each is built on a series of riff abstractions that never advertise their angularity, but always ride the flow. The penultimate song ("A Leaden Stride to Nowhere") is much slower and longer, but is so well integrated that you won't notice the tempo shift. This seamless integration is the main improvement over the band's previous album ("Jouhou"). Vocalist Jon Chang has improved in this regard too. He still uses deep, old school sounding growls but he mixes them with his trademark high pitched shriek ("Oratorio in Grey" is a great example). Nothing ever seems amiss. This album is a pinnacle of cohesive extremity, up there with the likes of "Transilvanian Hunger".

The singularity of this album has probably limited its recognition in the current metal/grind scene. I don't hear many bands copying this album, borrowing from it, or even talking about it. The only bands that sound anything like Discordance Axis are those who splintered from them (Gridlink being the obvious example). My observations on 21st Century grindcore (thus far) is that it has reverted back to older styles, albeit with a modern production aesthetic. A record like Insect Warfare's "World Extermination" takes cues from Terrorizer, not from Discordance Axis. The simple explanation for the lack of Discordance Axis worship is that "The Inalienable Dreamless" is an impossible album to copy. The band took this brand of grindcore to such unassailable heights that no-one has had the gall to try. Even Discordance Axis folded a year after this album came out. I doubt this was a coincidence.

For me, revisiting this album after several years has been a revelation. This one has aged to perfection. It is now obvious that it stands alone, rather than as part of a wider ‘neo-grind’ movement. It is even better than I remember it being. I expected it to retain most of its power, but I didn’t expect that it would blow my mind in new and different ways. This is the mark of a sure-fire masterpiece. It belongs on anyone's list of quintessential grindcore classics, and has no equals within its chosen field. This is the record for those who seek the most technical, abstract grindcore around.

Wow...

Starts getting old fast - 85%

ScatologyDomine, May 22nd, 2008

This album is astonishing the first several times. Those dissonant, off-rhythm patterns on "Loveless"... those lows and demented shrieks on "Jigsaw"... the death metal "Necropolitan" that nearly touches perfection..

The problem is, The Inalienable Dreamless wears on you fast. The instruments are all pretty much the same in every track, it all comes down to which riffs happen to be to your liking the most. I don't think there are any true stand-out tracks, beyond one's personal preference in the matter. The three tracks I mentioned earlier are the stand-outs for me, with "Castration Rite" and "Vacuum Sleeve" as honorable mentions.

The vocals, while not the greatest grindcore vocals ever produced, are tolerable. The higher vocals bring to mind Seth Putnam, though sounding a little more emotional. The lows are typical of a powerful shrieker: they tend to be weak. It sounds more as if the vocalist is talking in a low voice with a mouthful of food than it does the vocalist is doing convincing gutturals. Chang's vocal power, despite some shortcomings, is still powerful somehow, and the lyrics are touching, full of expression and worth reading along with.

This album is equally as satisfying as any other Discordance Axis album, but doesn't show much maturity or development as a band. This band basically did the same thing on each album.. and while the formula was successful, it leaves something to be desired from a band that never grew up. The album would be a 90 or even a 95 if it showed more growth and development.

My review may seem to paint the album kind of negatively, but I assure you this is a worthwhile album. If you're a big fan of Discordance Axis (and somehow don't have this album), like the more-technical-less-brutal deathgrind, or just want to hear something you've not heard before (unless you're already a Discordance Axis fan), this album is worth getting.

Best grindcore ever! - 100%

Ad_van_den_Boom, February 19th, 2005

This is the shit! For me this is the best grindcore album ever… together with their previous masterpiece “Jouhou”! Both albums are groundbreaking in the history of grind, and until now I did not hear another band that could equal Discordance Axis in intensity and originality. Discordance Axis is unique, there are no proper words to describe their music. I will give it a try here, but you HAVE to experience the music yourself. Of course no guarantees can be given, see the other review below of “The inalienable dreamless”.

The strongest aspect of this album is that you can listen it again and again… and again and still you will be able to discover new elements in the music. The first few times you “experience” DA, you are unable to decipher what is happening. I was overwhelmed by the brutality, speed, aggression and very hectic songwriting from the first moment on and I wanted to replay this album over and over again. After a few spins the whole thing is getting better and better because you grow into the crazy drumpatterns (Dave Witte) and the incredible guitarwork by Rob Marton. In fact these two heroes create all the organized chaos between the two of them, cause DA has no bassplayer! You do not miss the bass for one minute however: every second of The Inalienable dreamless fiercely thrusts itself from the speakers upon the listener like a tsunami! Jon Chang screams the lungs out of his body and alternates his harsh screams with deep, growling grunts, and everything in between as well on certain occasions. This adds even more to the diversity of the songs, cause when you think that the 23.32 minutes of this album are all one blur of grind-noise, you are dead wrong. Each and every song has it’s own particular feeling and rhythm and it’s own recognizable, cutting riffs and high-pitched guitar eruptions, sharp like a razor’s edge!
All songs constitute a coherent album however, you are constantly raving for more violence and Discordance Axis serves you accordingly track after track. There is only one composition of the 17 songs which is really different and this is the one but last track “A leaden stride to nowhere.” This is also the only track that exceeds the two minutes by far (4.07) and is more of a monotonous, pounding hammer, building up tension. This track was previously released in a different version on the “Necropolitan” ep. With the very strong “Drowned” (also featured on the aforementioned ep, though with a way lesser production) the volcano erupts once more and the carnage is over. The listener is left totally worn out and flabbergasted. The retarded amongst us only want more and play the whole album again to get a new energy-boost!

The production is fantastic: clear but with a very full sound. A real grindcore-wall of noise is erected without loosing any detail of the great musical efforts. And then we come to the artwork: when you pick up this album you are a bit unsure if this is really the masterpiece of grind that all your friends have recommended to you… The LP cover looks best: serenity and tranquillity breaths out of the blue sky and the thin cirrus-stratus clouds that form a light canopy over the sea in the bottom of the picture. The cd is packaged in a dvd-case – which was a novelty when The inalienable dreamless was released – and the picture had to be reduced something to fit the oblong size, but still the peaceful image stands in shocking contrast with the onslaught you will experience when the disc spins its turns, preferably at maximum volume. The LP is the winner for me and Hydrahead also pressed 110 copies on clear vinyl, which are real collector’s items by now…
The new bandlogo that DA is sporting since the Jouhou album is very modern and tight and fits very well with both the “binary” image DA was pursuing in their later years and the immaculate performance of their music.

I want to conclude with yet another personal note: this is one of the few out of very many albums that I play about once a month for years now… Most of them do never leave their storage-place after the initial, intense listening. Not because all other albums I own are bad (far from that!!) but because I simply do not make time or have the urge to re-listen them… The inalienable dreamless can indeed not be taken away from your mind. Highly RECOMMENDED, though not to the weak of heart!