Dissona - Paleopneumatic review




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Reviewer:
8.8

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7.81
Band: Dissona
Album: Paleopneumatic
Release date: January 2016


01. Another Sky
02. Fire-Bellied
03. Outside The Skin
04. Breach
05. Totality
06. Odium
07. Anastomosis
08. Lysis
09. The Last Resistance
10. Sunderance


One of the most agonising things is uncovering a gem of an album only to come to the cynical realisation that it's probably going to be several long years before you get treated to another taste, and that's if the band continues. Certainly, you can always replay the album, but albums that resonate with me have always engendered a distinctive craving which is only momentarily satiated by new material. Over the years this tends to subside, but I'm hardly exaggerating when I say that I've been eagerly waiting for this moment for nearly four years.

For those of you who have had the opportunity to hear Dissona's self-titled debut, you might recall the sheer amount of stylistic diversity and originality demonstrated on that album. The fact that those tracks were disparate was certainly a highlight for me, yet I can imagine that others might find that level of quirkiness daunting. As with most forward-thinking artists, Dissona have taken their sophomore effort, Paleopneumatic, to a level of stylistic cohesion and accessibility that will surely appeal to a wider audience. Staying true to their characteristic flair, they have simply smoothed-out the endearing - but potentially jarring - edges of their debut.

Pigeonholing this hour of avant-garde-tinged progressive metal would serve naught but to distort expectations. The truth is, you'll be met with an eclectic array of styles and sounds that requires your undivided attention. A few seconds of distraction could mean finding yourself in a position where you're wondering if it's even the same song. The playful nature of the instrumentation creates a veritable aural roller coaster. Guitarist Matt Motto, for one, must have some sophisticated gizmos in his musical toolkit, producing inventive chords from under the table and spearheading the music with well-placed key and time signature changes. While a virtuoso without a doubt, he devotes his talents and classy guitar abuse to the music. Drew Goddard showcases imaginative drumming and percussion, dancing between stylistic and rhythmic changes with an admirable mastery. Together with bassist Craig Hamburger - providing the delectable and palpable bass riffs - they prove a rhythmic force to be reckoned with. Once again establishing himself among the most diverse vocalists in the genre, David Dubenic presents an adept arrangement of deep cleans, soothing falsetto, "grungy" vocals, black metal shrieks, and savage growls. His emotional delivery evokes a commanding and enchanting presence that instils a truly visceral response.

I've never been one to comment on production, but it seems Matt Motto has a few more tricks up his sleeve. In spite of the demands fashioned by innumerable stylistic changes, the production keeps up, moulding to each unique moment. Whether chaotic or serene, each musician secures a distinct place in the mix. Chunky and almost percussive bass tones punch through nicely alongside the satisfying crispness of the hi-hat and ride. A pleasant frequency of choirs and varied electronic sounds heighten the intended vibe's intensity, as shown at the four-and-a-half-minute mark of "Another Sky" or the introduction to "Breach." Angelic vocals provided by guest musician Desirée Hassler complement the music with an ethereal contrast.

Whether it's the ambient and electro-driven "Outside The Skin," the grim and blastbeat-laden "Breach," the climatic "Totallity," the tech- and groove-oriented "Odium," (features a 5-second guest vocal performance from Smaug) the more straightforward "The Last Resistance," or the mournful acoustic performance that is "Sunderance," Paleopneumatic is nothing short of impressive. Dissona have crafted a challenging release that will likely strike a chord in anyone who is partial to anything out of the ordinary. While anyone expecting the level of eccentricity that can be found on their debut will be disillusioned at first, it is clear that the band matured musically since that release. I, for one, am already beginning to experience that all too familiar bittersweet feeling. Here's to the next couple of years - I hope - until Dissona graces us with another release…

…until then.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9

Written by LeKiwi | 13.01.2016


 


Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 302 users
13.01.2016 - 06:00
Diverge
Well now, this is a review. In all of my years coming to this website, this is definitely one of the finest reviews I have read on this website so kudos. Every point you made is eloquent, truthful and sets the stage for one of the most anticipated underground prog metal albums in recent memory. I especially like the idea that the production fits every single out-of-the-ordinary occurrence featured on this album, and I happen to agree with you on that point.

While I don't necessarily agree with your full assessment of the album (I would now probably rate it a solid 8 or almost a point lower than the score), every single point of this review is fully defended and justified by the music. It's definitely a challenging beast and, at least in my view, requires a few listens for people used to the originality of the debut.
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13.01.2016 - 06:32
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
Written by Diverge on 13.01.2016 at 06:00

Well now, this is a review. In all of my years coming to this website, this is definitely one of the finest reviews I have read on this website so kudos. Every point you made is eloquent, truthful and sets the stage for one of the most anticipated underground prog metal albums in recent memory. I especially like the idea that the production fits every single out-of-the-ordinary occurrence featured on this album, and I happen to agree with you on that point.

While I don't necessarily agree with your full assessment of the album (I would now probably rate it a solid 8 or almost a point lower than the score), every single point of this review is fully defended and justified by the music.

Cheers! That's very encouraging. Reading over it now, however, I realise I may have been a little tense

Quote:
It's definitely a challenging beast and, at least in my view, requires a few listens for people used to the originality of the debut.

Most definitely. My expectations betrayed me at first, but I've since freed my mind from them
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13.01.2016 - 06:35
Diverge
Written by LeKiwi on 13.01.2016 at 06:32

Cheers! That's very encouraging. Reading over it now, however, I realise I may have been a little tense

Your review style kind of reminds me of R'Vannith! While it might be a little tense-sounding, I prefer these kind of reviews because they end up saying a lot about very tough albums to describe, probably because the style is so straightfoward.
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13.01.2016 - 06:45
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
Written by Diverge on 13.01.2016 at 06:35

Your review style kind of reminds me of R'Vannith! While it might be a little tense-sounding, I prefer these kind of reviews because they end up saying a lot about very tough albums to describe, probably because the style is so straightfoward.

Yeah, I think I'm with you on that. I reckon I would be less tense if I was trying to describe a more straightforward album, but damn was this a challenging release!
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13.01.2016 - 10:25
Nimlot
A. Reader
Great Caesar's ghost! What an album! Kiwi, you should do more reviews.
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14.01.2016 - 04:37
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
Written by Nimlot on 13.01.2016 at 10:25

Great Caesar's ghost! What an album! Kiwi, you should do more reviews.

I hope I write some more as well Have you heard the debut by the way?
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14.01.2016 - 20:42
Nimlot
A. Reader
Written by LeKiwi on 14.01.2016 at 04:37

Written by Nimlot on 13.01.2016 at 10:25

Great Caesar's ghost! What an album! Kiwi, you should do more reviews.

I hope I write some more as well Have you heard the debut by the way?

Yes, I listened to it today but I've only had opportunity to give each album a single spin. While I really like both of them for the most part, the vocals turn me off a little bit. They're the kind of thing I would have gone for 5 years ago, now they just sound like bland power metal singing (same with Symphony X, Russell Allen's just wrong for me). Still, Dissona's made a lovely first impression overall.
This might be a dumb question, but what's avantgarde about this band? Maybe I missed it because I wasn't quite paying attention at times (despite your warning, sorry) but nothing avantgarde stood out to me.
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14.01.2016 - 20:56
lordz
IzZo
When listening to another sky ... totally agree with Nimlot in terms of the vocals especially for the first part of the song.... but after the fourth minute the whole thing went from good to amazing....

Now listening to Odium... way better than the first song at the intro in my humble opinion...

overall I think both songs are good and cant wait to hear the rest of the album tomorrow... seems its going to be a good one
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14.01.2016 - 22:47
LeKiwi
High Fist Prog
Written by Nimlot on 14.01.2016 at 20:42

Yes, I listened to it today but I've only had opportunity to give each album a single spin. While I really like both of them for the most part, the vocals turn me off a little bit. They're the kind of thing I would have gone for 5 years ago, now they just sound like bland power metal singing (same with Symphony X, Russell Allen's just wrong for me). Still, Dissona's made a lovely first impression overall.
This might be a dumb question, but what's avantgarde about this band? Maybe I missed it because I wasn't quite paying attention at times (despite your warning, sorry) but nothing avantgarde stood out to me.

If you know any other vocalists who sound like Russell Allen, you better make sure I'm the first to know! I have to admit I'm rather partial towards "gritty" vocals.

Regarding the notion of avantgarde in the music, I'm glad you asked. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I could pinpoint what exact makes Dissona avantgarde, but I just felt that their bizarre take on prog warranted some sort of...acknowledgement. There's quite a fine trace of "avantgarde", but I hear it nonetheless. In any case it's not avantgarde in the full-blown what-is-going-on sense, so perhaps I'm wrong.

Edit: just on a side-note, the "avantgarde" element is much more evident in in their debut.
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15.01.2016 - 00:48
Diverge
I would still call this "avant-garde"-tinged prog...this sort of whirlwind approach through sounds, best exemplified by Another Sky and the beginning of Breach, is definitely not a common occurrence within prog. But yes, the debut had an "avant-garde" element that was far more evident.
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