The Great Discord – Duende

Rating: 4,5/5
Distributor/label: Metal Blade Records
Released: 2015
Buy album [URL]: EMP
Band website: http://metalblade.com/thegreatdiscord/

duendeBand line-up:

Fia Kempe – vocals
Aksel Holmgren – drums
André Axell – guitars
Gustav Almberg – guitars
Rasmus Carlson – bass

Track listing:

1. The Aging Man
2. Deus Ex Homine
3. Eigengrau
4. L’homme Mauvais
5. Selfæta
6. A Discordant Call
7. Woes
8. Angra Mainyu
9. Illuminate
10. Ephemeral

Review:

Discord can have two meanings – a disagreement between people, or a lack of harmony between sounds. When it comes to this new Swedish band, the first fits like a glove in terms of labeling it: it’s really hard to agree on what these guys are doing here. But the second definition couldn’t be more far from the truth, because no matter how exquisite their combination of sounds might be, the outcome is extraordinary.

And besides their songwriting respecting no boundaries, there’s Fia Kempe’s charismatic voice, which seems to have a personality of its own. The voice of a leader.

The Great Discord don’t feature a keyboard player, but the piano pieces in several of their songs are priceless. In “Eigengrau”, for instance, it breaks the sharpness of progressive metal and adds a little bit of soulfulness, eventually serving as an intro for one of those metal-ballad-type guitar solos. But then in “Selfæta”, the softness of those keys disappears and in its place we face a threatening, ominous posture, as we listen to what sounds like a soundtrack to a horror movie. In fact, this song is about a hermit cannibal, so maybe “horror movie” is the right expression. It has some male growls in-between, to highlight the harshness of the story.

In “A Discordant Call” we’re told of a psychopath suffering from dissociative identity disorder – there’s a lot of mental issues addressed in this album… – and therefore the gloomy parts are more desperate than threatening. Not for long, ‘cause soon the tempo speeds up in one of those prog outbursts.

Both “Woes” and “Illuminate” live up to their names, the first through a sorrowful melody, the second in a cheerful and classy style. I could call “Ephemeral” epic, but that’s a key-word in the description of the whole album. Every track has its own story, its own identity, and together they form this surprising masterpiece that it’s “Duende”. Epic indeed.

Review by Renata Lino
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