Tardive Dyskinesia
The Sea of See-Through Skins

I don’t often put on Meshuggah albums, but I certainly understand the appeal. It’s a sound that’s precise and punishing, at once layered and dense, yet colorless and spare. And its haphazard, violent lurch and bellow demands, focuses, even galvanizes your attention – until suddenly, it doesn’t. Time and time again, my attention always wanders when I put on a Meshuggah album.

And so here comes a Greek band called Tardive Dyskinesia (formerly Override), a strange name for an even stranger affliction that causes the lower face to droop like a deflated balloon (seriously, Google it – it’s not pretty). Tardive Dyskinesia sounds exactly like Meshuggah – so much, in fact, that they may be in danger of copyright infringement. But they do work in one detail that I don’t hear enough in Meshuggah albums: melody.

It’s not often, and no one’s going to confuse this for melodic death. Most of the songs on The Sea of See-Through Skins are still built around lurching, simplistic loops – but occasionally and unexpectedly, the guitars will brighten into expansive, ascendant melody, even as the stuttering percussive and vocal attacks continue on their single-minded paths toward destruction. These breaks instantly give songs like opener “Triggering the Fear Reactor” or “Brains Trust” color, light, and a greater sense of structural dynamics than the largely monochromatic material that dominates the album.

Those other tracks are more of what you’d expect from Meshuggah-acolytes – spastic, relentless and syncopated stomp, although there are still some unique touches here and there, like the bluesy strut that crops up during “Downfall,” or the dissonant sludge and rippling solo that close out “Tinge of Irony.” It doesn’t hurt that the production (courtesy of Textures guitarist Jochem Jacob) on The Sea of See-Through Skins is appropriately hefty and pummeling, which lets the album retain a lot of power even as the compositions start to blur together.

Overall, this is an impressive find just from a sonic perspective, though if there were a bit more of the aforementioned color and melody, I’d play this more often. As it stands, I find it to be too much of a Meshuggah clone to really stand on its own. If Tardive Dyskinesia can expand upon the more progressive/adventurous elements of their voice and evolve towards something like Gojira or even Gigan, then I’d definitely keep a (non-droopy) eye out for them in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
October 16th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I also have the same problem with Meshuggah -sure it’s tight and heavy, but listening to the same jagged riff over and over with one-dimensional shouting over it gets boring. It’s great to hear a melodic element now and then.

    These guys are pretty good at doing that, but they come dangerously close to metal-core at times.


  2. Commented by: Pixeltuner

    I think Jochem Jacobs could’ve easily slapped his own bandname on most of these tracks sans the Oceansize-esque clean parts. It’s more Textures then Meshuggah really, but then again they’re a Meshuggah derivative as well. :p
    Sounds pretty ok though :)


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