Album Review: Dischord - "Casualties of War"

By Martin (sadly his last review before he departs from Noisography to work on his own music career)

Dischord, from Moncton, NB is definitely doing a lot of things right. What a solid record! Playing is great, spot on, and you can tell that nothing less than perfection was accepted through the recording process. This is local independent metal at it's finest.

Casualities of War is a great opener to this album of the same name--the bridge really grabbed me, and the outro, with it's barked army commands is chilling, evoking a bleak near-future of military rule; a perfect prep for this awesome 55 minute journey. What follows is a great showcase of what these guys are capable of--I never felt bored, they just keep it so fresh, so new--each track gives you a little surprise, something a little different than the last. Just when you think they've done it all and might go back to something more familiar, they go a bit further, and IT IS STILL GOOD.

The vocals are impressive, multi-layered growls, screams, screeches, (and singing in some parts too) and very well done and tasteful. I often have problems with metal vocals when I can't make them out, and they get too repetitive and boring, but Robichaud (lead) and Gagné (backups) do a great job with keeping the voices varied and fresh. The lyrics really appeal to me too, going from dark future to black magic to inner conflict to political commentary, again, keeping things new and different but still cohesive.

I want to comment on the last couple tracks especially:
RCMP - I'm in agreement with Dischord here: still not lovin' police! Right on, I appreciate metal with a message now and again!
Les Ténèbres - This one starts out nicely, again showcasing again the variety this band has to offer... and has a neat connecting theme throughout where an extreme metal riff is played without distortion and then with, really showing what difference the guitar effects make. But they both work! I did feel at one point though that maybe this is where all the leftover riffs ended up, some of the changes were a bit jarring and unconnected for me.
Solitary Confinement - By this point, what more new can Dischord come up with? Well, this track doesn't bring much newness to the record but it's a recap for me of all that's happened in the last seven tracks. Clocking in at almost 11 minutes, it's a look back and a reminder of everything that makes this record great.

Throughout the album, the rhythm guitar work is awesome--however the lead work leaves something to be desired; solos seem to be static groups of notes that don't relate to each other or go anywhere. The exception is Mortal Deity--that solo did something for me, but I can't really point out what it had that the others lacked. It just seemed to make more melodic sense, just my preference. The drumming and bass work is solid, technically amazing, but not really showy or innovative... but perhaps this is a good thing after thinking about it: no one member really takes the spotlight here, and I'm left with a sense of a tight band who acts as one, who are all on the same level and working together to create a whole music experience rather than to support one member.

Overall, the strongest point of this record is really it's variety. Dischord is able and comfortable doing many different sounds, textures, and feels, while still keeping the final product rooted in a defined genre. They push the envelope the perfect amount--enough to keep the listener interested, but not too much so as to alienate them. I'm excited to hear more of this band because I know they'll keep me guessing and listening. I'm sure they have lots more fresh material to share with us!


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