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Review: Discordia - Flashback

Label: Masterpiece Distribution
Year released: 2010
Duration: 38:04
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 13, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Readers Rating

Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)

Here we have small time progressive metallers Discordia, so small that they don't even have a page on The Metal Archives as of this writing. Their quirky new album Flashback marks a promising beginning. Like probably everyone else, this was my first exposure to the band, and it's an interesting one. While the blanket term of "prog" fits Discordia best, it's a little misleading. The band aren't overloading their music with egregiously long instrumental passages or unnecessary time changes. Instead, they are masters of tone, implanting it within their music with deep emotion. Yet at the same time, each song defies conventional structure, consisting of many parts sewn together. Discordia don't overdo it like so many prog bands. Any fan, not just an ultra-savvy Berklee student, can enjoy and stay attuned to this music. It won't alienate those who prefer not to give an album dozens of listens, slowly dissecting the music until it "clicks." Thankfully, this is tasteful progressive music.

Discordia hail from Italy and sing in Italian, which is another funky facet to their music. At softer points in the music, where the band drift away from metal influences (or even rock influences), the Italian lyrics put the music even further into left field. While this may be a sticking point for some, others will be interested in how different it makes the music sound. More compellingly, Discordia are able to blend complexity with emphasized simplicity. Many of these songs are quite complex, with varied intensity, then culminate in rather simple, yet powerful and catchy refrains. These parts become the most memorable parts of the album. The vocals of Matteo Bottaro are sort of a soulful squeal, and are a real selling point. In no way are they traditional metal vocals. You'd expect to hear these more in some sort of mainstream rock band, but for some reason, they fit Discordia very well, making the songs flow with greater melody and passion. He never belts out a tune with the sole focus of showing off a wide range, but instead opts to aid the music with his voice.

The main problem Discordia face is production. Flashback would sound much better given slicker and full production. Sadly, that's not the case. As a result, there's a feeling of "what could have been" on this album. It simply doesn't sound as good as it could. It's not the band's fault for not having enough money (assumedly) for strong production, so you can't really fault them too heavily. But even with such setbacks, songs like "Il Peso del Tempo" evoke their natural energy, not needing to sound perfect.

Despite a few problems, Discordia are a powerful and obviously quite committed underground act. The sky is the limit for these guys, as no one can deny their talent and ability to compose great metal songs. They only need to find better production, and then there will be no stopping Discordia.

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