Ah, my first review of 2017 and I am honored for it to be in critique of Thanatopsis, the second full length album from Oklahoma City’s Dischordia. I had intended for this review to be in before the close of the year but unfortunately, the holiday season and long overtime hours were not very conducive to listening and/or writing. I have to admit though after listening to Thanatopsis, I feel as though I have done myself a grave injustice. Not because Thanatopsis is a bad album, in fact it’s quite the contrary. Thanatopsis is a monstrously fantastic and epic piece of progressive death metal. I’ve witnessed Dischordia more than a few times. My own band has even shared the stage with the trio on a couple of instances. Hell, the guys even crashed at our practice space, while on tour, this past summer. No, the feeling of injustice comes from the fact that though I have heard Dischordia many times, and have always thought them to be a good band, I had never really listened to them until this new album.
Getting to spend some quality time with Dischordia and Thanatopsis has really proven to be a rewarding experience. Employing a form of progressive and technical death metal, Dischordia do not fall into the conventional confines of said genres. With an aural foundation influenced by the likes of Gorguts, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Meshuggah, with some nice flairs recalling acts such as Decapitated and Between the Buried and Me, and even Australian bands Damaged, Mephistopheles, and Alchemist, Dischordia deliver bright, fresh, and organic material in an appealing and pleasing tumultuous adventure.
Album opener, “Thanatopsis I: The River”, kicks things off with clean guitars and bass working together in a slow build up until opening into a Gorguts/Mephistopheles mix of heaviness. Dual vocal attacks, coupled with impressive drum acrobatics add a wonderful intensity. Things shift into brutal/guttural death territory around the 4:30 mark before stopping and ultimately, closing out in the same fashion as the track began. “Thanatopsis II: The Road”, picks up where “The River” left off , with a slower, even somewhat plodding, heavy dissonant beginning. The pace quickens with a Meshuggah-istic groove, “The Road” propels into blasting fields and shines with intense vocal phrasings reminiscent of Damaged and even Cattle Decapitation. Slowing things down a bit, bassist/vocalist, Josh Turner, adds an unexpected twist with some fleeting flute moments to the track’s layered “weirdness”, giving an epic and even visual feel. “Thanatopsis III: The Ruin”,closes out the album’s opening trilogy with an intense, yet controlled chaos of jagged, angular, and innovative progression. Abounding vocal mannerisms of all kind can be found on this atypical death metal experience, the song carrying a grand scope of mountainous movements.
Thanatopsis really is an album that continues to impress with every listen. Whether it’s the ever morphing, yet commanding groove beheld in the riffs of guitarist, Keeno, combined with the eight arm octopian-style of drummer, Josh Fallin, on “Madness”, or the brilliant, clean breakdown, recalling a mixture of BtBaM and Cynic, in “Bone Hive”, Dischordia manage to encapsulate a kaleidoscopic myriad of metallic influences. The trio seemingly takes the mold cast by others and blows that mold to smoldering pieces, scattering these pieces across the galactic divide. Downtuned progressive axe blows mix with a Tool/Mudvayne aesthetic in “The Curator”, while a slowdown, around the track’s 4:30 mark, provides some interesting bass work leading into some gnarly angular riffing. Taking that Mudvayne/bass heavy influence and driving the track “22°” forward with it, Dischordia give a slight glimpse into what some of the heavier nu-metal bands could have been. The song takes a clean mixed progressive slant of an almost Cynic-y nature, showing the quirky talent of this group. The bass work juxtaposing underneath and on top of everything, drives the material until it closes out in heavy, blasting chaotic bliss.
A fun sample from the film, The Princess Bride, starts out “An Unlikely Story”, which is far from rubbish, with its The D.E.P. meets Zao vibes colliding with more overt deathcore-isms at times. The track abruptly takes on a calm ethereal feel, complete with piano, synths, and bass coming together creating a nice, open airy break, that has a creepy queer beauty to it, before suddenly coming back in and closing out in mere seconds of chaotic groove. Thanatopsis closes out with “The Traveler”, giving the listener a lot what Dischordia has to offer in just a single tack. There is a strong Mephistopheles and Cryptopsy like madness to be found in “The Traveler”, with its ever changing brutal, progressive, and technical groove. The bass pushes the song with massive fat licks leading into a quirky tejano/polka flavored circus/puppet show flair of metal theatrics, morphing into emotional strands of strained heavy sickness, fading out with a controlled and commanding sense of power.
Much like my review, Thanatopsis can be quite an exhaustive experience. Unlike my review, the payoff from Thanatopsis is extremely high and well worth it. Maybe I’ve carried on far too much in describing this release, but when an album comes along that is able to channel so many influences, and the end result be this good and original, it deserves to be lavished upon. A powerful and impressive trio, Dischordia deserves your time..or maybe your time deserves Dischordia.[Visit the band's website]