Disharmonic Orchestra
Ahead (Re-issue)

Re-issues are a hit or miss affair, but Poland’s Metal Mind have generally been spot on with their re-issue catalog (Godgory, Annihilator, Artillery, Atrophy, Believer, Brutality, Defiance just to name a few) but when the source material is as oddball and divisive as the 2002 release from Disharmonic Orchestra, they are a bit hamstrung.

I originally heard Austria’s Disharmonic Orchestra on a 1989 spilt with Pungent Stench and then the 1990 album Expositionsprophylaxe, which showed the band as a rather original sounding grindcore band. However, I never heard any of the subsequent releases such as Pleasuredome and Not to be Undimensional Conscious– admittedly on a voluntary basis after hearing rumblings of the bands’ avant-garde developments away from grindcore and metal. So basically this 24 bit re-mastered version of the bands last album, is the first time I’ve heard the band since 1990, and I can see why they have sort faded from view.

I’m not sure of its reception back in 2002, but listening now, Ahead is one of those albums that I’m sure divided fans between those that saw a genre defying, super experimental avant-garde metal act or a band that simply had no metal relevance anymore. And after hearing Ahead, I tend to agree with the latter.

To be honest, Ahead is rather a painful listen. Avant–garde? Absolutely, but in my opinion it’s a form of weird, ADD fueled, intentionally over the top experimentation that a band delivers to get out of a record deal. Now, back in 2002, this may have been mind-blowing in its genre defying antics, but listening to it retrospectively- it sounds forced. Quirky FX, programming and samples litter mid paced riffage and semi gruff vocals with little or no structure. The riffs are often simple, repetitive and rarely, truly death metal or grindcore, and they take a back seat to all the other various beeps, whirrs, and extraneous stuff going on. Look no further than opener “PlusOne” , “Supervision”, “Nine9nine”, “Grit Your Teeth” and “Dual Peepholes” which are frankly- cringe inducing. And that’s before half the album is even over.

Any brief nods to the bands grinding past such as “Idiosyncrated”, “If This Is It, It Isn’t It, Is It?”, “Pain of Existence” or “I.M.S.M.T.S.U.R” are so few and far between or mired in seemingly random dance beats, programming and weirdness that its hardly worth calling Ahead a metal album let alone one worth re-issuing a mere 7 years later.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 15th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I had a friend who LOVED these guys, kept raving about Not to Be Undimensionally Conscious. It’s been almost ten years since I’ve heard it but I remember trying really hard to like it and not doing so well with that. Oh well he turned me onto Neurosis and I turned him onto Emperor and Weakling so I guess it was a fair trade.


  2. Commented by: gordeth

    Do yourself a favor and give Not to Be Undimensional Conscious a listen. It’s death metal with a melancholic avant-garde slant but it’s not totally off-the-wall like Ahead is. And, the musicianship and songwriting is all top-notch. I have yet to hear another album quite like it.


  3. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I’m going to check this out. Never heard Ahead or Pleasuredome but I trust this talented bunch.


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