Discordance Axis – The Inalienable Dreamless
The Inalienable Dreamless rivals Jane Doe by Converge in its ugliness. In only twenty-three minutes, the grindcore trio that is Discordance Axis reveal one of the most technical and progressive albums in the genre – and without a bassist, too. The perceived stillness of The Inalienable Dreamless by the sea on the cover artwork obfuscates the horrifying yet gorgeous depths of this album. A disgusting work with nigh-undefendable production, yet one of the most emotionally powerful albums in a genre too often stereotyped as being nothing but macho brutality.
The Inalienable Dreamless explores concepts of death and rebirth, existential annihilation, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, as grindcore is, it’s not exactly easy to be able to tell underneath Jon Chang’s ear-splitting vocals. The lyrics to The Inalienable Dreamless – if they can be called as such – are more like additional poetry to read while listening to the music rather than words that actually follow along with the songs. Even when you know what the lines are, it’s still almost impossible to pick them out from Chang’s bellows. (If there’s one genre that can get away with that, it’s grindcore.) But that doesn’t necessarily mean the concept is lost: track titles such as “Angel Present”, “The End of Rebirth”, “A Leaden Stride to Nowhere”, and “Use of Weapons” say plenty within themselves – and that’s not mentioning the extraordinarily emotive guitar tones of Rob Marton.
Back to Chang: he has one of the most unique screams in grindcore history. Upon first listening to The Inalienable Dreamless, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there are two vocalists, as Chang alternates between a high-pitched shriek and a roar that are more often found within black and death metal, respectively. The latter sound is not guttural so much as it is cavernous, as if the inalienable part of the titular dreamlessness is stretching forth from its own void. The title track and “Jigsaw” present two of Chang’s most powerful performances out of every act he’s been in thus far – including the parody (but awesome!) group Hayaino Daisuki.
The Inalienable Dreamless is a true gestalt. Sure, you could listen to individual tracks, and there are plenty of stand outs (the guitar solos on “The Third Children” come to mind), but it’s best experienced in a single blast of existential fury. The catharsis of “Drowned” is never truly reached without the neanderthalic crawl of preceding track “A Leaden Stride to Nowhere”. The militaristic drumming of “Loveless” is lost when not immediately followed by the chaotic introduction to “Radiant Arkham”. Hell, the “gestalt” concept applies to the band members themselves: where would Chang or Marton be without Dave Witte’s drumming perfectly keeping all of the deconstruction together? Witte gives Ben Koller a hell of a run on “Compiling Autumn”, and anyone who’s played doom metal can tell you how painstaking it is to keep the power behind the molten crawl of something like “A Leaden Stride to Nowhere”.
At the risk of crossing too far into hyperbole, The Inalienable Dreamless is one of those “required” albums for the grindcore/metalcore fan’s music library. It’s far more than another gory “REARGH” fest, and you don’t even have to have seen Neon Genesis Evangelion to understand that “Angel Present” isn’t a good thing. Highly excellent, and highly recommended.
1. Castration Rite – (0:58)
2. The Inalienable Dreamless – (0:41)
3. Sound Out the Braille – (0:32)
4. Oratorio in Grey – (0:54)
5. Vacuum Sleeve – (1:02)
6. Angel Present – (1:28)
7. The Necropolitan – (1:42)
8. Pattern Blue – (1:27)
9. The End of Rebirth – (1:04)
10. Loveless – (1:27)
11. Radiant Arkham – (1:14)
12. Use of Weapons – (0:35)
13. Compiling Autumn – (0:48)
14. Jigsaw – (2:08)
15. The Third Children – (2:16)
16. A Leaden Stride to Nowhere – (4:07)
17. Drowned – (0:58)