I think I have become one of those "I need 8 days in a week" types. The only thing I ever really stop for is my daughter, sleep, and music. It's easy to get lost in a life like that.
Every once and awhile an album comes along that makes you press pause and subsequently holds your hand on that pause button.
"No, you cannot escape this one", my brain said......
"Follow the red rabbit", it said.......
Curious yet? You should be. Are you paying attention?
Good........now witness this.
"The Rabbit Hole" by The Great Discord. Released September 8 on The Sign Records. Let's get to it. Shall we?
I've said before that there are two women in my goddess pantheon of female vocalists. They are Stevie Nix and Fia Kempe. Each of them in three aspects, artist, voice, woman, are the soundtrack to my very soul. A voice like Fia's could only have been born down to us from the clouds above Mt Olympus itself.
Am I gushing yet? Yeah, pretty much.....Moving on.
Track 1......Dimman.....at 1 minute and 18 seconds, it is a brief but potent intro into the sensory bliss yet to come. Fia's voice swirls in the air as a translucent silvery blue fog that engulfs you and keeps you company for the duration of the album.
Track 2.......Noire.....Oh hello there badass guitar riffs. There is a glorious balance between power, guitar tone and melody that appeals to the riff junkie like myself, as much as the melody purist. I love the sense of upward motion it gives me. The instrumentals surround me with a deep forest green like I'm up in the trees, and Fia's vocals pull me upward like a silvery blue magic carpet reaching down from above.
Track 3......Gadget....Good grief Aksel! You were certainly a busy man on this track. You no doubt made it look poetic and effortless as always. Heavy on the drums, hell, heavy on everything. It's the most “metal” sounding track on the album, in my humble opinion. This song makes me want to drive fast. Eventually I will catch myself speeding down the interstate while it plays. I suppose, then, that it is appropriate that it is another intense green track because we all know green means go. 1 2 3 4 5 666.......
Track 4.....Darkest Day.....The production genius really shines on this track. It's the total package of skill and presentation, not to say that the rest aren't, because they certainly are, but something about this track makes it the sort of song that I would play to introduce someone to The Great Discord. Perhaps it's the power of the vocals, perhaps it's the fact that no single instrument overtakes the rest, perhaps....it's the fact that it makes me feel like I'm speeding forward surrounded by intense reds and blues with the ever present silvery blue floating high above. All I know for sure is that I love love love it, and I'm cool with that.
Track 5.....Tell-Tale Heart....Oh hello riff heaviness, my love....welcome.......I love the kick in the pants you get from the bass guitar. Half way through this album, I am taken by how the guitar tones were absolutely perfect and the drums are a pulse from start to finish, not just playing the accents and mimicking the bass, but moving with each riff in it's own individual way. Presented any other way, I don't think they would have told the story as well. The instrumentals create the atmosphere and the vocals tell the story. I say this with utmost sincerity. You can tell me this story over and over and over and over because I will never tire of it, nor will I ever tire of how this track makes me see my surroundings through an orange gold filter. Think of speeding through sand dunes with a silver blue sky above. That's what Tell-Tale Heart feels like to me.
Track 6.....The Red Rabbit.....Good god I love the bass heavy riff! There is an insidious darkness at work here, and it's fucking delicious. Drag me down the rabbit hole. I don't care. Or if you like, I can “hop hop hop hop into the rabbit hole”. Either way, you have me hook, line, and sinker as they say. The intense reds and blues returned for track 6 and hit me like a tidal wave of sound as soon as the music started playing. If you don't sing along with the vocals, at some point, then you need to consider investing more time in how music makes you feel....just saying. Fia's vocals are the standout for me. It's really a roller coaster ride of her capabilities and you will love it.
Track 7.....Neon Dreaming has that same feel as that point between awake and asleep where you hear but the still conscious part of your brain makes you wonder if it's real or not. It's like drifting on a slowly moving river to an unknown destination....equal parts serenity from the movement but tinted with melancholy from leaving where you once were. The guitar work creates a wave that guides you forward and Fia's vocals are a like a cold caress across your cheek. I particularly love this one for the grays it fills into my vision, that are permeated with that beautiful silver blue.
Track 8.....Downfall is an interlude that strikes much the same places as Neon Dreaming in terms of emotional response and the colors it elicits within the mind. As soon as it arrives, it's gone. It's like an apparition. Did I really hear that? Was it all in my head?
Track 9.....Cadence....Oh how I love you and how you make me sing it loud so the guy in the car next to me can hear it. You and your wall of guitars, your earth shaking drums, and vocals that will grab you and fling you backwards like a great wind. Remember the old Memorex commercials where the guy is sitting in front of the TV and the sound comes blasting out at him? That's what Cadence is for me....well, that and the familiar shade of blue that surrounds me like I dove into a pool of it. It's all really quite awesome. I could talk about guitars and things but just take me at my word. Cadence will make you roll down the windows and share it with everyone on the road.
Track 10.....Omen.....This track is simply stunning. There's a vibe here that reminds me so much of the music I listened to in my youth that I often depended on to keep a sense of internal peace. That vibe still works. It still lets me find that place where I worry about nothing. It has a rhythm like a hearbeat.....life sustaining, if I may lean dramatic. Omen showcases the talents of each musician in the best way. You've heard me mention “wall of sound” in the past. This song blows through you like a winter wind and makes you want to run out into the cold and do it all over again. You've also heard me mention that very few songs in existence can hit me in such a way that I feel surrounded by multiple colors. It's usually 1 to 3. Omen is one of those. Omen is to be experienced....as is the whole album.
Track 11.....Persona....Persona will put every riff junkie like myself in their happy zone. Everything about it is worth a mention, but the guitar work here is worthy of dropping whatever you happen to be engaged in and playing the air guitar like a mad man. Then it slows down a bit and an unease sets in as Aksel plays a march beat on the snare. Then the guitar badassery returns....then a haunting piano....then Fia's voice rains down from the clouds...then it's done. Imagine great explosions of silver and white that slowly fade to black. It leaves you out of breath and in the most pleasant state sensory bliss, but still questioning “was it all real?”
Oh yes kids. It very much was real. Now hit play again. You know you want to......
Riffs, vocals, badass drummer. Genius production and well worth the price of admission. Now to get you on tour in the US. Yes?
The Red Rabbit