Dischordia – Triptych Review

A crucial aspect of my death metal enjoyment comes from the mood it invokes. I feel plain cold with OSDM stuff, but the oft-maligned dissonant death offers a spectrum of atmospheres and environs: Portal’s gates of madness, Ulcerate’s apocalyptic meditativeness, and Ad Nauseam’s croaking caverns, for example. Sinister intent and apathies to our suffering are a given in the dissonant stylings, but what if we could make it fun? Fusing the crushing existential dread but enjoying every moment of it is a tightrope act in and of itself, as styles like mathcore and grind offer a nonchalance to insanity that seems most apt. Well, if you have not been properly introduced, meet Dischordia.

Dischordia is a death metal trio from Oklahoma City. Sporting a discography of two full-lengths, 2013’s Project 19 and 2016’s Thanatopsis, as well as three EP’s, new beatdown Triptych is the first album in six years. Fusing the elegiac brutality of Artificial Brain with the relentless scathing dissonance of Sunless, as well as the warped technicality of Decrepit Birth and the rhythmic shiftiness of Gorguts, Triptych is an album that is as punishing as it is progressive. Never taking itself too seriously and utilizing a plethora of wild tricks to justify its nearly hour-long death metal insanity, it’s certainly a wild journey.

Nine tracks seem to have three movements contained within, hinted at by the album’s title and art, as well as the similarity in track names, but sonically there is little separating them. This is okay if unfriendly audio punishment is your game. “Minds of Dust” aptly pummels your brain to smithereens with a crushing onslaught of jumbled crunchy riffs while layering dissonant flourishes and noodly bass throughout, while Josh Turner’s formidable roars lay the foundation. “The Whip” and “Purifying Flame” follow suit with particularly relentless brutality, infusing their Gorguts brutality with a nearly jazzy Imperial Triumphant walking bassline. Dischordia is out to convince you that you should spend an entire hour listening to Triptych, so each track is laced with built-in interludes that add a psychedelic or placid atmosphere in which to rest, such as some Jethro Tull-esque flute solos (“Bodies of Ash” and “The Carriage”), jazzy off-kilter bass (“Spirits of Dirt” and “Purifying Flame”), and atmospheric synths (“The Wheel” and “La Petite Mort”). Above all, Dischordia approaches an unfriendly style with a refreshing sense of fun and a distinctly epic feel that courses throughout each movement. It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the vast insanity present here, but the Colin Marston mix makes every single string pluck and snare hit heard with crispness and heft.

That being said, although Triptych is Disneyland for dissodeath enthusiasts, it is a task to sit through. Clocking in at nearly an hour, it’s a complex and chaotic jumble upon the first few listens. Scathing dissonance and shifty rhythms offer little respite from the pummel, and listeners must rely on the meditative passages as a shady spot to rest. Each track feels just slightly too long for its own good, as the closing passages of “Bodies of Ash” or “The Whip” feel excessive and self-indulgent. Closer “Le Petite Mort” features a warped, synth-laden breakdown that slowly decays into slogging to close out the album, which is neat by itself, but feels too-little-too-late. Also, if dissodeath isn’t your cup of tea, Dischordia will do little to convince you of it except to overwhelm you with epic excess, and embracing the “Gorguts with flutes” aesthetic is an odd path to take. Triptych is a niche-within-niche style, but if you’re willing to wade through the punishment, your trek will be well-rewarded.

Many dissonant death metal acts like Ulcerate, Acausal Intrusion, and Portal embrace the sprawl, a nearly meditative and miasmic crawl that swallows the listener in waves of pain. Dischordia is content going the path of Effluence or Encenathrakh in curb-stomping your pathetic brain and spitting in your face with dissonant spastic unpredictability. Channeling aural punishment through fun experimentation and epic ambitions, Triptych justifies its bloated hour length – barely – through a fantastic mix and just enough avant-garde leanings to keep things interesting. Although it does little to convince the naysayers, a playground awaits those with masochistic tendencies with a sprinkling of Jethro Tull atop. If getting spanked is your thing, enjoy Dischordia. You do you, we don’t judge.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: dischordiaband.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/dischordiaband
Releases Worldwide: April 29th, 2022

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