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TRACK LIST: 1. Season Changes 4:20 2. Ideology 4:17 3. Ignalina 8:23 4. Taken 4:25 5. Green Light 5:43 6. Grip! 12:27 7. Random Hearts 6:22 LINEUP: Tero Vaananen – vocals; keyboards Riikka Hanninen – vocals Antti Tolkki – guitars Sande – guitars Otto Makela – drums Petri Sallinen – bass With: Laura Miettinen – vocals Markus Myllyoja – vocals
Prolusion. The Finnish band DISCORDIA was formed back in 2001, and has slowly but surely developed their craft ever since. They have two EPs and two albums to their name so far. "Season Changes" is the most recent of the latter, and was released by the band in 2015.
Analysis. Discordia is a band that appears to have a strong fascination for the classic era of progressive rock, and the artists referenced on their facebook page reflect that aspect of the band. They are also among the many that embrace more recent aspects of progressive rock, although that isn't quite as audible in the material they produce – at least if this latest album of theirs is anything to go by. When that is said, this is not a band that has opted to explore the golden era of progressive rock as such, even if plenty of nods in that direction can be found. There is a reason, after all, for why these musicians have chosen Discordia as the name for their band. A certain discord is a presence on just about all the songs on the album. Or rather, unexpected and unconventional developments appear to be something of a second nature for this band, as are a less than conventional manner in which to explore themes, motifs, arrangements and even vocals. In some cases, the discords, as such, are of a lesser dramatic nature. Opening cut and title track Season Changes, moving from a classic golden era progressive rock sound of the gentler variety to a riff-dominated arrangement closer to hard rock in style, is one of those, and the elegant, flowing Green Light, with its dark, eerie effects and keyboards interludes, another example of just that. Perhaps more striking are creations such as Ideology that pairs off a fairly conventional hard rock song with quirky, intricate instrument movements and unconventional lead and harmony vocals in a rather intriguing and subtly avant-garde oriented manner. On other occasions jazz-tinged landscapes blend with eclectic maneuvers and perhaps with a slight nod to folk music here and there; we have vocal harmonies with more of a sacral choir character as well as quirkier vocal arrangements with an obvious nod in the direction of classic Gentle Giant. What may or may not be a slight touch of reggae finds a good home here as well, and a fairly straightforward gentle song that reminds me of jazz-rock, Marillion and later day Pink Floyd all at the same time isn't a surprise to uncover either. At times easy on the ear, at other times challenging, as harmonies and discords melt, fuse and blend, Discordia is a band that appears to hit right at home in the challenging department, but not to such an extent that they come across as abrasive. At times perhaps bordering the latter, if not due to sheer construction then due to length, cue the 12-minute epic Grip as a composition that should intrigue many who finds the description “challenging music” to be an invitation to listen to good music. At the heart of most of the material here is a liberal array of nods towards the golden age of progressive rock, but these are details within a greater context that is more adventurous, more challenging and rather less than traditional by default – perhaps not quite within the scope of the avant-garde corner of the progressive rock universe, but most certainly eclectic.
Conclusion. Discordia provides a well-made specimen of modern day challenging progressive rock with their second album "Season Changes". Their choice of band name does indeed indicate something about the music they create, and while rather far removed from the most challenging bands out there, this is music made to be appreciated by those who enjoy a band with an eclectic and unconventional approach to the art of making progressive rock. And a band that merits a check by those who find such a description to be alluring.
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