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The Great Discord - Duende

The Great Discord
by Mark Sworder at 27 May 2015, 9:56 AM

Atmospheric. Brooding. Sublime. THE GREAT DISCORD prove to be all this and so much more with their debut release, "Duende". Coming out of Sweden with a tantalising blend of Technical and Progressive Metal, some eerie, almost Gothic elements, and a frighteningly well defined visual style, the band deliver a spellbinding first album.

"Duende" can mean to have soul, authenticity, expression, and a heightened sense of emotion, so it is appropriate that, in the opening moments of the album, THE GREAT DISCORD show their originality, and their willingness to pursue their own vision. Where many bands employ aggression (and perhaps bluntness) to initially draw the listener in, THE GREAT DISCORD are all subtlety. Layers of ambience and synths are textured beautifully. Guitars throb with delay and echo. Haunting vocals softly build the tension. Then "The Aging Man" explodes into an overwhelming chorus - all technical rhythms and heavy guitars, yet with a huge vocal hook!

'No light without darkness' - that is how THE GREAT DISCORD choose to describe their own style. Some may find this pretentious, but the band more than justify their obvious confidence in their own ideas and abilities. They expertly create ominous yet beautiful atmospheres, and contrast this with aggression and intensity. Each is a reflection of the other, and the result is that the music is more than the sum of its parts.
These themes, of light and dark, and of soul, expression and emotion, are prevalent throughout the music present on "Duende". Vocal melodies are one moment uplifting, and unsettling the next. At times, the music is an onslaught, yet soothing and calm at others. An emotional connection of this level to music is rare, but it's hugely rewarding when you find it!

It's nigh impossible to talk about the tracks on this album in isolation, as everything is of such a high standard, and performed with such precision. Aksel Holmgren exerts energy throughout the various time signature changes and technicalities from his position behind the drum kit. The guitar and bass lines from André Axell, Gustav Almberg and Rasmus Carlson paint a complex and beautiful musical canvas, with the vocals of Fia Kempe adding light and shade, and traversing the spectrum with ease. Not a single brush stroke is wasted or out of place!

With "Duende" being released in early June, expect a sharp rise to significance from THE GREAT DISCORD. This is a truly remarkable album, encompassing so much emotion, passion and honesty. It's easy to become submerged in the music - it really does get under your skin, and give you a feeling of unease! However, by confronting so much of both the light and the dark, it becomes a cleansing experience by the time the album has reached its end, and the thought of diving back in for more is simply tantalising!

4 Star Rating

1. The Aging Man
2. Deus Ex Homine
3. Eigengrau
4. L'homme Mauvais
5. Selfaeta
6. A Discordant Call
7. Woes
8. Angra Mainyu
9. Illuminate
10. Ephemeral
Fia Kempe - Vocals, Clav
Aksel Holmgren - Drums
André Axell - Guitars
Gustav Almberg - Guitars
Rasmus Carlson - Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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