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Discordia - Season Changes CD (album) cover

SEASON CHANGES

Discordia

 

Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 10 ratings

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TCat
4 stars The tag eclectic prog definitely fits this band. They hit quite a few prog subgenres through out this album, even in the course of a single song. And they do it very well. Almost every sound and mood that they generate is solid and believable. It also fits together very well. They have quite the prowess for instrumentals that work well to meld the sounds and feelings of the album together. There are a few weaknesses in the vocals that I feel have more to do with production than delivery, but that complaint does little to mess up this wonderful cacophony of sounds and moods. This is really quite the surprisingly enjoyable album.

We start off with a track that isn't really straightforward overall, but it does give you an idea of what to expect in the album. But as good as it is for a starting track, it give very little insight into the vocal harmonies that pop up several times through the album. Save that for the next track, "Ideology". These beautiful harmonies take you by surprise after that first track. There is a slight feeling of the airiness of the harmonies reminiscent of the UK band "Pure Reason Revolution", but where PRR has a slight weakness to their harmonies, Discordia makes up for that in this track by a feeling of confidence in their sound. However, that strength in the vocal harmonics suffers a bit in the next track, the 8 minute "Ignalina". The difference here is that the band ventures into dissonance which gives a great variance in the sound of the previous track, which I love, but because of the lack of confidence in presenting the dissonance here tends to make it sound unintentional. I believe the fault lies not in the performance in this track, but in the production. There are times you feel the confidence of the 2nd track, and other times when the harmonies get lost in the mix that it sounds hesitant. I feel like I'm spending a lot of time on this which is not a major problem considering that the track itself is made up of a lot more than vocal harmonics because there is still a lot of solo singing and a lot of amazing instrumentation also. I love the fact that they use these harmonics, the sound is amazing and I think if it the problem was fixed, this would have easily been a 5 star album. That's how good it is.

Next comes the track "Taken" which starts out sounding like it could be radio friendly song, but soon ventures off into territory that separates this band from the run-of-the-mill band. They quickly establish themselves apart from the typical band by adding some prog-folk flavor mixed with the complexity of Coheed & Cambria, but with better vocals. The next track "Green Light" is a personal favorite because it is so original and even though the music is quite accessible, it is deliciously different. The band continues to stay out of the trap of formulaic structure and they prove that they are talented by making believable music.

The next track is a 12-minute epic that continues to establish the band as a Eclectic prog force to be reckoned with. The vocal harmonies are there and are much better in this track, and the vocal solos are somewhat reminiscent of the vocals in "The Mars Volta", but much more accessible. That is until harmonics breaks into a classical-chorus style of singing (not operatic, but chorale style). Surprises continue to be around every corner on this track as it is throughout the album. Unfortunately, the closing track "Random Hearts" is the weakest track on the album. It sounds relatively straightforward and may be intended to be a radio song. It's an okay track, but it doesn't live up to the expectations that the other tracks have already established.

I know I talk a lot about the vocals in this album because I love the harmonics. They are not overbearing, they are on the album just enough that they are not overpowering, but they are there enough to be satisfying. It is the right balance of vocal solos and ensemble style singing. But, on top of this, the instrumentals are spot on. The guitar solos stand out the most and they are excellent. The guitar passages are an original sound and hard to compare with anyone else. There are several keyboard embellishments that are balanced well through the album and are mostly what you would expect from an eclectic band. Meters are constantly changing, but not in a haphazard way, everything seems to flow together so well.

This band from Finland really needs to get some notoriety in prog circles. They are surprising great musicians and with a little work, could be 5 star material. They are so close to it now. I would give them a 4.5 rating if it were possible, but I can't quite give them a 5 star rating because of a few flaws. I can tell you though, that if the trend that was set in the first 2 tracks continued into the longer 3rd track and consistently beyond that, this would have been 5 stars and at first I thought that I would have no choice but give them 5 stars because I could find nothing wrong at that point. But the difference in the 3rd track is too evident, even though it is not enough to distance yourself from the band. On the contrary, I highly recommend this album and hope that they continue in this same style of sound with a little more attention given to production and/or working on being constantly confident of where they want to take this sound. Excellent album. 4 stars, but that 5th star is a lot closer than a lot of established bands ever get to. It is so close to being 5 stars. Highly recommended.

TCat | 4/5 |

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