Monday, September 26, 2016
Album Review: Tardive Dyskinesia - Harmonic Confusion
You see, Tardive Dyskinesia have an unfettered view of metal, so even if you’re not a specific fan of the progressive or technical stuff, you’re bound to suddenly find yourself nodding along due to the band drawing from such a wide range of sources. Motorhead, Gojira, Maiden, Meshuggah, Devin, Dragonforce – they’ve got all angles covered.
The first four tracks might just turn your brain to mush with its multi-part constructions but the deeper you dig, the simpler and less invasive the songwriting gets. “Insertion” introduces their passion for fast skidding chords. It’s a technique that pops up at regular intervals and by “Fire Red Glass Heart” one that has developed into spasmodic, polyrhythmic djent. It all soon releases into harmonised vocals then spinning off into techy runs and stoner roars before dropping into a slow-build of riff-picking. Smacks of Gojira and Textures are its bedrock but it’s the explosive lyric “You can run but you cannot hide” that provides the ultimate smack to the chops. “The Electric Sun” mashes Baroness’ sharp tones into Purified In Blood’s visceral delivery before dissolving into a Skyharbor-esque progressive wash.
Those hunting for a real crusher should skip straight to the Meshuggah-worship of “Self Destructive Haze”. It’s the aural equivalent of dropping a stink-bomb on a packed escalator. Even here amidst the bag of nails gargling and battering chugs they find a moment to breakout into a passage of uplifting chimes with accompanying vocoder. Listen very closely and you’ll pick out the true stars – the insane drum patterns and interlocking slap bass notation. As the album hits its middle, the band start opening out the structures; reducing the speed of their attack. Soon we’re wading into moments such as the arm-waving chorus of a “Thread Of Life” (inspired by Way Of All Flesh-era Gojira or I’ll eat my hat), the instrumental middle-switch and “Everlong”-aping rawk (yep, Foo Fighters) of “Concentric Waves”, the string-taps, arpeggios and jazz sax of “Savior Complex”, and post-rock noodling (a la Heights) of “Chronicity”.
The final shaking of Tardive’s creative box of tricks is saved until right near the end – “Echoes 213”. Its a track that ripples with expansive guitar soloing, progressive arpeggios, fluid rhythms and cosmic touches which provide the gentile comedown into dead air. It would be remiss of me to not also mention that, whilst listening, I was reminded of the kind of Deconstruction-level Devin Townsend production. That is about as fine a compliment that I can give.
So, are we excited? I am! Personally, the listening experience was a lot like the band had thrown down my vinyl collection and then reconstructed it from the shards. Yet, I’d be happy to point out that Harmonic Confusion is full of originality too. Sure there’s a wealth of inspiration here but it ain’t imitation. Tardive manage to reinvent their source material and keep each part flowing in the same direction to the same destination point. If this doesn’t get them noticed by the big players, then… well, I’ll eat my other hat.