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Diskord's Oscillations sounds like the future. Not our future, but 1994's future. And, uh, not our 1994, but a 1994 somewhere out there in the Rolodex of the multiverse where things went another way.

Let's just call Diskord theoretical metal.

Here's what I mean: These Norwegians plot a different path for progressive death of the Death variety, inverting the virtues of today's evolved version. Instead of trying to keep up with the callouses of the Joneses by wow-ing listeners solely with flying digits, Diskord experiment with sounds and textures. Songs are riddled with shrapnel rhythms, chiming overtones, and rich block chords. Compositionally, though, Diskord are pretty palatable.

That's not to say Diskord aren't absurdly skilled. Highlights abound: On "Hermit Dream," sawing legato low-end offsets fluttering runs. "A Downward Spire" winks with brief washes of wah-wah. Drummer/vocalist Hans Jørgen Ersvik uses the entirety of his kit; rims, bells, and anything else that makes a noise. Guitarist Håvard Østli and bassist Eyvind Wærsted Axelsen are equally adventurous, sneaking in subtle details that shift the terrain enough to appear alien under the microscope. These are elements you'll inevitably ask your music teacher to decipher.

Yet, though they bear fresh fruit, Diskord are an old tree. Structurally, they stay moored to methods proven to work. As said previously, these aren't simple ditties; hell no. But Diskord have little interest in completely obliterating your internal abacus. They know a dangled hook has to look edible. So Oscillations incorporates a push/pull as old as metal. And the songs stick because there's a sense you've internalized them before. You could even sum up some of these songs as, say, Satyricon (especially when they tug hard on the reins) meeting Martyr. Not that Diskord are a dead ringer for either, there's just a well-tuned classic sensibility running through what they do.

Like !T.O.O.H.! or Anata or Voivod, Diskord are at their best when they twist the recognizable and digestible ever so slightly, recasting it in their own voice. And that brings up the production, maybe the most pleasantly atypical feature of this entire effort. Part of the reason Oscillations lands is because Diskord's voice sounds so real. The production is -- and this is a weird thing to write regarding death metal -- rather intimate. There's a certain warmth to it, almost like you're sitting next to Ersvik's kit. Oscillations is organic, forgoing robotic gloss to truthfully document a performance created by actual humans. Uh. . . actual humans from a different timeline where 'retro' equals Diskord. Or something. They're definitely something.

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Diskord's Oscillations is getting released via Australopithecus Records and Hellthrasher Productions. The CD and digital version will be available on August 15 (preorder). The vinyl comes out September 2 (preorder).

— Ian Chainey

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