By DEVDUTT NAWALKAR
Diskord‘s Dystopics is a little known gem, revered in hushed tones in the underground. It also happens to be the single most relevant death metal album of the new millennium and is a touchstone for the entire style. It isn’t outrageously outre like Portal nor does it flagrantly bend and twist the principles of death metal the way Deathspell Omega, Mayhem or Blut Aus Nord distort black metal. Dystopics is unabashedly death metal, its inspiration can be traced back to the most primitive of forebears in Autopsy and Incantation. What it excels at is infusing a frankly stagnant form of music – and let’s face it, death metal has been dying for want of true innovation for some time now – with new ideas and textures. There are plenty of technically proficient bands around but few can match Diskord‘s quirkiness and songcraft.
How does one begin to describe the sound here? The references in Autopsy and Incantation are accurate enough; any seasoned death metal listener can instantly visualize the sonic palettes those two provide for. But there are bands tuppence ha’penny doing that these days. It’s how Diskord fill in the gaps that truly sets them apart from the crowd. Gorguts is a big influence obviously, Obscura, pre and post too. Diskord adopt several of the songwriting nuances that Luc Lemay perfected with his legendary band; the tremolo on the first two executed at moderate speed with perfectly placed squeals and harmonics that gives off a very busy vibe. There are nods to Obscura also in the clanging, dissonant chords used here, along with bands like the already-mentioned DsO and latter day Mayhem. Demilich‘s penchant for other-dimensional strangeness is updated for the 21st century. The measured, supremely self-assured pacing and unparalleled composition of Atrocity, especially on Todessehnsucht, finds its rightful heir here too.
Take all that and throw in a lot of funky bass and a guitar tone and soloing style that I can only liken to Allan Holdsworth’s alien sonicscapes. Just what in hell is this beast, you ask?!
It is elite death metal, a term I generally reserve for those bands that strike a chord on a thinking level and an intangible emotional plateau. Diskord do both by the bountiful and come away with hands down the best album of 2012 and the most rounded death metal in a very, very long time. Accomplishing it all while showing incredible maturity, poise and utmost respect for the fundamental tenets of death metal.There are no gimmicks, there are no compromises to modern trends. The production is death metal, the vocals are death metal. Diskord have arrived, thirty years after the genre first sunk its claws into the mangled underbelly of thrash. This circus isn’t leaving the Milky Way anytime soon.
MORE ALBUM REVIEWS BY DEVDUTT NAWALKAR: Expurgo – Burial Ground | Amon – Liar In Wait | The Chasm – Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm | Claws – Absorbed In The Nethervoid | Krisiun – Southern Storm | Katharsis – Fourth Reich | Immolation – Majesty And Decay