One of the prevailing elements in our current era of music, especially within the metal genre, is evolution. We see musicians increasingly pushing the boundaries of their respective genres and combining an ever-expanding array of influences to create something novel and exciting. Dischordia is one such group of musicians. Taking notes from heavyweights such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah, Dischordia have carved a path of their own. This band is poised to take the metal world by storm with their unique brand of sonic artistry. Their sophomore release, Thanatopsis, serves to exemplify this.
Thanatopsis provides a listening experience I can only describe as amorphous. The album brings to bear an eclectic array of elements, not all of which fit neatly into the death metal genre, thereby making for an interesting and suspenseful listen. There are certain hints at a large variety of musical influences that make themselves known through each of the nine songs. The music itself features a colorful palette of tones, yet the album feels cohesive and extremely heavy; this is especially great because it means Dischordia don’t trod the same ground endlessly.
Album opener “The River” immediately breaks any expectations one would have about the album. Sounds of rushing water and the chirp of insects gives way to a gentle back and forth between the bass and clean guitar sounds. This pleasantry comes to an abrupt halt, almost as if the floor were abruptly giving out from underneath you. The dichotomy of elements is especially evident here, as the song violently shifts from an almost jazz-like piece into an aggressive banger. Furthermore, the interplay between the soft and heavy elements really adds a sonically pleasing wealth of textures.
Unlike the first song, “The Road” hits you with a slow, heavy, and jarring introduction. Manic breaks and vocal lines reminiscent of The Dillinger Escape Plan pair with savage drum beats and grating dissonance to create chaos. A small spoken interlude, complete with a flute, breaks up the heaviness and gives the listener a moment to catch their breath. The song then returns to madness and ends with a flourish. “The Road” is one of the more interesting songs on Thanatopsis, and the soft interlude really accentuates the heavier portions.
“The Curator” is another song able to capture one’s attention as soon as it begins. It welcomes you in with slow, eerie guitars, punctuated by an almost delicate cymbal work. Dischordia expertly build the tension up before quickly erupting into pure, raw aggression. Much of the heaviness in this song is characterized by superbly written bass lines and tasteful lead guitar work. The vocals are fantastic as well, complete with throaty shouts and some great interplay between Josh Turner and Keeno.
Dischordia have successfully labored to create a monument to their stretching and distortion of what death metal can be. Thanatopsis is chock-full of things any lover of heavy music can easily appreciate – well-written guitars, exemplary bass guitar work and a drum backbone that perfectly ties it all together. And while vocal delivery falters a little here and there, on the whole I would still say that the album is incredibly strong. The band has definitely made a statement about the evolution of the genre, and it has become clear that the three of them are more than willing to explore new frontiers. Thanatopsis is an album that deals in themes like death and destruction, which may be telling of what bands like Dischordia mean for the status quo of heavy music.
Notable Tracks: “The Curator”, “Bone Hive”, “The Traveler”
FFO: Meshuggah, Revocation, The Dillinger Escape Plan