Album Title: Delete / Rewrite
Label: Road Mark Productions
Date of Release: 7 January 2020
The glut of new releases in January is relentless and so, occasionally a few will slip through the net. Fortunately, a direct email from a PR agent specialising in Benelux bands has led me to catch one album that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks. As it is, ‘Delete / Rewrite’, the latest album from Belgium’s Dyscordia was released nearly three weeks ago, so I’m bringing this review a little late. Better late than never though, I say.
‘Delete / Rewrite’ is actually the third full-length studio release from Dyscordia but up until now, their previous two albums and debut EP have eluded my radar. So this is, somewhat embarrassingly, my first dalliance with this particular outfit. In existence for well over a decade, they are comprised of vocalist Piet Overstijns as well as vocalist/guitarist Stefan Segers, guitarist Martijn Debonnet, lead guitarist Guy Commeene, bassist Wouter Nottebaert and drummer Wouter Debonnet.
Billed as a melodic/progressive metal band, my first thought on hearing ‘Delete / Rewrite’ was ‘blimey, this is heavier than I was expecting’. The guitars deliver real crunch and power, the drumming is punchy and aggressive whilst also being quite deft in places. And the vocals are a bit of a surprise, flitting between a melodious clean voice and a more unexpected gruff delivery, with a few full-on growls for good measure. This isn’t one of those releases that is referred to as metal but is actually as heavy as a piece of soggy lettuce; this album has some bite and it serves Dyscordia well. The fact that the album is produced by Jens Bogren and mastered by Tony Lindgren, just adds an extra something to ‘Delete / Rewrite’, bringing out the best in each of the nine tracks on offer here.
Despite the heaviness, there is plenty of melody to be heard, so Dyscordia prove that you can be aggressive and melodic, that these elements are not mutually exclusive as some might have you believe. At times, the band sound like they are exploring more of a modern melodic death whilst at others, they have the sheen of a synth-heavy classic progressive metal band.
The opening track is the title track and it justifies most of the preceding paragraph in that it is heavy and aggressive in parts with lots of well-placed gruff, death metal-esque vocals courtesy of Segers. But equally, it gallops along with lots of strong melodic sensibilities to be heard, particularly within the catchy chorus as well as a heady lead guitar solo and plenty of keys to add an extra layer of depth to the song. It’s a strong start and sets Dyscordia on their way, taking my full attention with them.
The riff that opens up ‘This House’ is pure In Flames from their ‘Clayman’ or ‘Whoracle’ era but the commanding clean vocals give it a different overall feel. Again, the melodies are bold and well-executed and the band also understand the need for inter-song dynamics, so there’s a quieter section which is nice and where Overstijns’ vocals remind me just a touch of Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch.
I like the way that ‘Rage’ changes tack a little over its five-and-a-half-minute length, from modern and abrasive to something much more refined and memorable. ‘Merry Go Round’ is a great track also, where the clean vocals soar over a sumptuous chorus which juxtaposes the more extreme metal soundtrack that surrounds it with real style. The harsh vocals approach something closer to a blackened death bark, more akin to the likes of Insomnium for example. To me, this approach shows guts and a fair bit of talent too because they manage, by and large, to successfully blend two competing elements into something that sounds very natural and interesting.
‘The Cards Have Turned’ injects more than a touch of power metal gallop and elegance, and ‘Stranger To The Dark’ is beautifully epic, benefitting from arguably my favourite chorus anywhere on the record. It is a sharp track that is equal parts power, prog and extreme metal, and which serves as the ideal one-song representation of the very best that Dyscordia have to offer.
If I had any kind of criticism about ‘Delete / Rewrite’, it’d be that a couple of the tracks maybe aren’t overall as strong as others on the record, with a little overall trimming required. I say this because, as excellent as this album undoubtedly is, my mind does very occasionally wander and I’m not 100% bowled over by Dyscordia as I think I should be and, indeed, want to be. I could have also done without the final track, ‘Rise And Try’ which, despite showcasing the vocal talents of the band, feels out of keeping with all that has gone before it.
However – and it is a big however – the overall impact of ‘Delete / Rewrite’ is very strong and I’m even more embarrassed for having never checked them out before. It is slightly bewildering why Dyscordia have not been snapped up by a bigger record label. However, on the strength of ‘Delete / Rewrite’, I can only think that it is a matter or ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. This is a record that comes with my recommendation if you’re a fan of progressive and power-tinged melodic metal with the black heart of extreme metal.
The Score of Much Metal: 82%
Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: