Diskord
Oscillations EP

Norwegian oddballs Diskord pull off a tricky double act with their quirky brand of warped death metal madness.  By blending a decidedly old school and unvarnished aesthetic with highly innovative and forward thinking songwriting, Diskord have cultivated a unique formula of raw prog and tech infested old school death metal, so masterfully nailed on their previous Dystopics LP from 2012. Sure influences ranging from Gorguts to Atheist to perhaps a dash of mid-era Death frame Diskord’s sound, however, it’s the abstract elements and band’s adventurous songwriting that lifts them above and beyond the usual retro death metal fare and into elite territory, occupying a unique space in the modern death metal landscape. Now with this latest mini-album, entitled Oscillations, Diskord sharpen their established sound to a fine point while taking their song-writing into increasingly adventurous and unpredictable terrain without compromising their primal death metal roots.

Amidst the structural oddities and challenging compositions is a beating death metal heart that keeps the more bizarre, experimental elements grounded. Ample explosions of raw death metal aggression, warp speed rhythms and blast beats serve to satiate the appetite of the average death metal fan, while counterbalancing the stranger aspects of Diskord’s sound. Once more, though it’s easy for this sort of music becoming derailed by self-indulgence or songwriting being too chaotic or convoluted for its own good, Diskordweave catchy elements into their bizarre stew, lending the album a memorable streak.  Perhaps not memorable in a traditional sense, but when the mood is right and your brain is properly wired into the mainframe of Diskord’s murky, dissonant and refreshingly offbeat sound, this shit gets pretty damn addictive.Half the fun is just wrapping your head around theunpredictable song structures that somehow remain fluid and cohesive despite the manic nature and myriad of twists and turns in the songwriting.

The instrumental and compositional prowess featured throughout Oscillations’ perfectly concise 26 minute running time is a joy to behold. The exceptional guitar work is particularly noteworthy, running the gamut from full throttle thrashy death metal riffs to off-kilter injections, crawling doom-like dirges and a shitload of ground covered inbetween. It’s a wildly creative and precise performance and the steady stream of extremely catchy and inventive riffs injected into the fray lends a song-based edge to the controlled chaos.  While Håvard Østli’s mind-bending guitar work is an obvious focal point, the stellar rhythm section is not to be easily overshadowed. The prominent basslines bubble and contort alongside jazz-infused drumming that is both technical and hyperactive yet tastefully restrained when necessary.

Dry raspy growls, performed by drummer Hans Jorgen Ersvik with occasional support from bandmates Østli’s and Eyvind Waersted Axelsen (bass), lends the album a fittingly rabid vocal counterpoint to the show-stealing music so deftly played and expertly written by the trio. “Horrid Engine” is a jolting and immediate example of Diskord’s violent choppy death metal, jumping from full throttle speed into a slow oozing mid-section that builds tension ominously before releasing a final salvo of pure death metal thrashing. The unhinged ferocity of “Lethargic Regression” cranks up the insanity with its brilliant blend of mutating basslines, frequent tempo shifts and trademark balance of zaniness and raw aggression.

Meanwhile the schizoid structure and unsettling atmospherics of ‘Hermit Dream” finds Diskord at the height of the weird and unorthodox powers, while the similarly strange “Symbiotic Whims” is likely to test the patience of the average metalhead with its dank moody crawl, punctuated with sudden explosions of cutthroat aggression. Before things go too far off course, closing track “A Downward Spire” rights the ship with a relatively straightforward structure, in Diskord terms that is, peppered with their trademark quirks. Another key attribute to the band’s unique sound is their choice of production. Oscillations sounds about as far away as possible from the ultra-slick modern production jobs that are commonplace in the contemporary death metal scene.  Instead the band opt for a warm organic sound that offers enough clarity and balance to define each instrument without stripping away that raw grimy vibe that suits the material so well.

One of the best kept secrets in the metal underground, Diskord seems to keep getting better and better with each release. Oscillations builds on the strengths of its predecessor and wraps all of Diskord’s trademarkquirks andunorthodox elements into a noticeably tighter and more cohesive package; revealing a band nearing the top of their game and perhaps on the cusp of greatness.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
September 5th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Joe

    This somehow reminds me of Revenant. I dig it.


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