Discordance Axis

The Inalienable Dreamless

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"High-concept grindcore" may strike some as a contradiction is terms, but that may be the best description for The Inalienable Dreamless, Discordance Axis' third full-length. From the DVD-style packaging and the cryptic booklet design on through the thoughtful, literary lyrics (which reference authors Joseph Conrad and Phillip K. Dick, among others), it is clear that much thought and effort went into this release. As for the music itself, the key word is "fast." Drummer Dave Witte sets the pace with his relentless blastbeats and hyperactive fills, which swerve through all sorts of shifting rhythms and non-standard time signatures. The guitars, meanwhile, are consistently angular and dissonant, in this sense sharing at least as much in common with progressive metalers Voivod or fellow New Jerseyites Dillinger Escape Plan as they do with grindcore fathers Napalm Death. Topping off the guitar and drums (the band doesn't use a bassist) is a dual vocal attack that mixes shrill, abrasive shrieks with more sporadically used intestinal grunts, which make a fitting match for the music. The album packs 17 songs into an exhausting 23-minute running time, which despite being well short of "true" full-length status, is really the ideal length for this type of music. Apart from the fittingly named "A Leaden Stride to Nowhere," a lurching, stop-and-start-filled song that is the slowest and longest one on the album, it is difficult to pick out standout tracks. That is not because the songwriting is weak, but because the overall pace and volume are so unrelenting. The songs do distinguish themselves with repeated listens, and are in fact quite complex and intricate, but the real draw here is the rush that comes from the music's sheer speed and the jagged-edged noisiness. Those looking for soothing sounds or catchy melodies will not be pleased with this album, but for connoisseurs of intelligent grindcore and noise in general, it can be safely recommended.

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