Diskord is a Norwegian oddity whose music I really don't have a long relationship with. Like a trio of shapeshifters, these guys dredge themselves out of primordial ooze and utter some absolutely bizarre sounds, creating one of the most interesting and deeply organic sounding death metal records of the last few years with Doomscapes.
Like the cover portrays, on first listen it's a bit odd to visualize the sounds on Doomscapes. The song title "Absurreality" sums the album up perfectly, and like masters of madness, Diskord hammer away at that feel until you're as disoriented and mentally malformed as the album sounds. Obviously there is some influence from other bands, primarily death metal greats Autopsy on Mental Funeral, and there's a few tracks that exude a grindcore sense of aggression in their layered-vocals-plus-d-beat approach. Despite the influences, Diskord isn't afraid to add one-off elements and cool nuances, making Doomscapes sound fresh and interesting on all levels.
That warm, jazzy sound is something I really admire in technical death metal. Instead of the superficial mechanized boredom of a band like Necrophagist, you get an organic tone with deeply resonant bass frequencies and dissonant chord changes. From the moment "An Architectonic Manifestation Of Death" bounces out of your speakers, it becomes an obvious reality: this isn't ordinary technical death metal. Basslines dominate the mix with a stark low-end that brings out a texture seldom seen in the subgenre, and the odd rhythms and those goddamn dissonant chords add to the roiling insanity.
Each track on Doomscapes is a different aspect of madness. The Java programming-titled "Public Static Void" features odd paradoxical lyrical themes and some awesome bass arpeggiations. "Reptilian Ancestry" features some tribal beats, and "The Ubiquitous Transcience" is a droning, rhythmic mindfuck. The molasses-tempo'd "Inane Existence" has a part where the band cleanly shouts what I interpreted as "[excuse the pain]-a new cocaine!" It's a fun album to listen to because it is anything but predictable, and everything about it is so bizarre.
The production is stellar. Bass, guitar, drums, and vocals are all mixed appropriately, with the guitar still carrying the melody (especially during the solos, like the one found on the awesome "Absurreality") but the bass is the true highlight here. It has a memorably warm, organic, and fuzzy tone. Eyvind Wærsted Axelsen knows his instrument well and understands just how powerful a strong bassline can be. That's not to discount the work of the other members by any means. Channard's guitarwork on the album and in particular "Overstrain" is phenomenal, as is the drumwork by Hans Jørgen Ersvik, who also does vocals. Keeping up with all those time signature changes must be quite brutal on the hands and feet.
With Doomscapes you get what you look at. A glorious mess of ideas that flow so well together that in the end feels much more unified and coherent than a first glance may make one assume. The instrumentation is phenomenal, the production is organic, and the mixing is pretty perfect. My only complaint is that the album will periodically get a bit too weird for its own good, but in the end it all comes together excellently.
9.25 out of 10