Sweden’s great prog escape
Prog – short for progressive music – has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance as of late, gaining popularity with metal fans around the world who are craving something more than just a chug fest. These fans are looking for bands that write with dynamics and have an almost superhuman-like mastery of their instruments.
For that, The Great Discord delivers. Their newest album Duende is a clinic on how to play every instrument. The guitar work weaves in and out while the drums seem to be keeping time in sections and parts –rather than a whole song. But the real monster in the room is Fia Kempe’s vocal work. She absolutely kills it on this album.
For the most part this album isn’t going to be a scream fest like other female fronted metal acts. Not to say that isn’t great – because it is – but it’s interesting to hear an almost operatic vocal over some prog metal. Kempe has an incredible range. Songs like the album’s opener “The Aging Man” really show how something like that could be pulled off without sounding cheesy. Which is always a concern with bands like this. The key is that the musicians behind Kempe – Askel Holmgren, Andre Axel, Gustav Almberg and Rasmus Carlson – are fantastic metal songwriters.
On songs like “Eigengru” you can hear how complex and heavy the music is. Just because it’s behind the soaring vocal work – doesn’t make it any less heavy. Even at times it’s just brutal. Like on “Discordant Call,” the song seemingly gets pulled in a bunch of different directions only to return to heavy breakdowns. It’s the superior performances that are the lifeblood of this album.
With the talent of these players it’s had to believe that Duende is their first album. But what isn’t hard to believe is that we are going to have The Great Discord for a long time. Let’s hope that these Swedish musicians can keep the great prog escape going. If they can – we are in for a real treat.