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Diskord – Degenerations Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 25 June 2021, 6:49 AM

DISKORD is a Norwegian death metal band who formed in 1999.  “Degenerations,” is their third full length album.  They have also released three demos, a split, and two Eps. “Degenerations” is the audio equivalent of constantly having your mind blown to hell, rebuilt, turned into something else, then the process repeated over and over.  Although it could be considered technical (and there isn’t any denying the band’s insane and unconventional instrumental talent), it isn’t so much as a constant display of playing prowess as it is a never ending musical tapestry pieced together by seemingly random ideas that actually flow well despite their never ending journey and seeming, wait for it, discord.

There is never a lull or a dull moment across this album’s twelve track, forty one minute run time. Rest is also something that never happens, as I was being thrown across this psychedelic and mind bending landscape.  As such, repeated listens of this musical madness were demanded so I could go back and rediscover what I heard and yet also find new avenues and paths to trod across with my ears as the vehicle.  This did present a problem with fatigue settling in at times but that is bound to happen with music of this nature.

This is an unique album but if I had to say what it could possibly be compared to…perhaps Atheist but on steroids…and psych drugs. What appeals to me the most about “Degenerations” is that despite all the things going on, there are still moments of focused brutality.  This is death metal after all and the band never lets me forget it, breaking my neck while twisting my brain. “Loitering In The Portal,” begins with riffs that flow through like waves of electricity crashing upon the shores of sanity.  A rolling barrage of drums hits next while the bass thumps like the heart beat of some beast.  The vocals are higher register death screams and shouts, perfect for the chaos in which they live.  Deep, deep growls also make their presence known, hitting hard when the song focuses more on actual riffs for a double punch of pain.  Around the 1:45 mark, jazz filled bass and drums hit an atmospheric high while the vocals growl their way through.  A stunning album opener if I’ve ever heard one.

Bionic Tomb Eternal,” sends bass through my mind with some kind weird tunnel effect while the drums and riffs ramp up in the background with the death vocals leading the chart.  The band suddenly gets laser focused and takes the song on a heavy rampage but goddamn that bass still slaps.  The middle portion is good ol take no prisoners death metal but the later half is odd rhythms before the band returns to rip out your throat. “Dirigiste Radio,” is a slower paced song and it makes the craziness of the music more threatening and menacing but the band doesn’t rest on its laurels for long before dizzying leads and even frickin cowbell takes over.  The guitar tone turns naaaaaaasty at the 2:36 and just drops the hammer before a thrash metal cadence rams the entire thing further down the spiral.

Dragged For Coronation,” is a special kind of fried out rageful speed attack.  The drums accent the potency of the rhythms and back up the bass tenfold.  Some of the best rhythm guitar work is in this song but I still can’t believe how often it turns on a dime and yet still makes perfect sense in the overall song.  And how about that wonky slow part that winds the song down into a demented stroll through ravaged wastelands?  It is everything I never knew I wanted.

Clawing At The Fabric Of Space,” is psychedelic, spacey, and just plain weird.  But you know what?  DISKORD pull it off and then some.  The bass just bends and twists through the clean backdrop of guitars and keys like a journey into the unknown. Alien soundscapes paint the sky while the vicious vocals cover that sky once more with blood.  Is this what going insane sounds like? Or is this to be truly awake?  The final half of the song is just as crazy, what with the guitar playing off everything else with weird counter harmonies and stuff that shouldn’t work but does.

The final track, “Beyond The Grime,” is indeed a grimy, dirty place that sounds as unsettling as you could imagine.  But I ventured forth and encountered depraved vocals and bass that threatens to rip apart this new reality.   The drumming is so atmospheric here, a huge part in holding this strange piece together.  The song alternates between brutal, tight metal escapades and more mind bending psycho pieces. By the time I finished this album, I wasn’t sure where I was at for a few minutes.  That was a problem because I was driving my car at the time.  But I made it through and started all over again.  In my humble opinion, this is now THE death metal album to own in this first half of 2021.  Do not miss out on “Degenerations.”

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Loitering in the Portal
2. Bionic Tomb Eternal
3. Abnegations
4. The Endless Spiral
5. Dirigiste Radio Hit
6. Lone Survivor
7. Dragged for Coronation
8. Clawing at the Fabric of Space
9. Atoms Decay
10. Raging Berzerker in the Universe Rigid
11. Gnashing
12. Beyond the Grime
Hans Jørgen  - Drums, Vocals
Eyvind - Bass, Electric upright bass, Cello, Theremin, Synth, Vocals
Dmitry  - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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