If you’ve ever read any of my reviews, you’ll know that I kinda like death metal, kinda alot! So when a new death metal record drops into my inbox and it’s from none other than Norway’s technical death metal royalty Diskord, then this tubby and sweaty bloke raises a big old smile. I’ll then prep myself for forty minutes of mind bending technical and crazy death, that will inevitably cause my brain to fall out of my nose and dribble down my sweaty husk of a body into a nice sloppy pile of pink mush!
It’s the Norwegian trios third full length since their 1999 inception and first since 2012’s Dystopics, it’s titled Degenerations and it definitely falls on the more unpredictable and experimental side of the genre. Think Atheist, Oppressor or Cynic then imagine those groups if they’d recorded their classic albums while under the influence of some potent psychedelics, and you’ll get the general vibe of Diskord’s crazy take on the classic sound that I hold so dear!
The first thing you’ll notice that separates Diskord from the pack is that the sound isn’t driven by that thick riffage you usually associate with the old school genre. Degenerations is actually entirely driven by the show-stealing fret-less bass wizardry from Eyvind Wærsted Axelsen and drumming mastery from Hans Jørgen Ersvik, these two are right up front in the production weaving a wonderful yet demented tapestry, you’ll not be able to peel…your ears from these two. Fear not though, you may be thinking ‘the riffs, what about the riffs!’ well there is plenty of killer guitar work here, not your usual chunky riffage, more screaming leads and expansive lines that sit nicely in the middle of the production, adding some rhythm and groove to the chaotic sounds. Hats off to Dmitry Sukhinin for a great performance and also his debut release with the group!
All of these twangs, beats, shrieks and licks wouldn’t be half as good if it wasn’t for the excellent song-writing on offer…
The sound is maddening but it’s also dynamic. Diskord know when to add some melody and space to the sound, this is especially prevalent in the excellent track Abnegations which is more melodious and also slower in pace than the previous tracks. Another great example of this slower and neck snappingly heavy sound is Dirigiste Radio. The other key sound on the record is a trio of vocals, suitably sharp and gritty, prodding and stabbing through the wandering experimentation with perfect amounts of venom and dissonance, designed to leave you full of holes and wanting more. Can I also mention the tone on one of the toms, it sounds so odd that it actually works, just occasionally popping out and grabbing your attention like something in the corner of your eye you just can’t ignore.
All of these twangs, beats, shrieks and licks wouldn’t be half as good if it wasn’t for the excellent song-writing on offer. Degenerations is a clear step up and step away from their previous records sounds. It’s undeniably their best effort so far and, in my humble opinion, a record that should turn some heads. It’s a really well put together record and one that’s going to have great replay value. This isn’t your run of the mill death metal record… and that’s why it’s so excellent, a wonderful detour from the currently bloated old school death genre. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see this on some end of year lists.
Scribed by: Matt Alexander