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Discordance Axis - Our Last Day

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Artist: Discordance Axis

Album: Our Last Day

Label: Hydra Head

Review date: Aug. 15, 2005

Given the lack of information that came with this one, it took some research to figure out exactly what the deal was. This final piece in the complete story of Discordance Axis, Our Last Day includes two impossible-to-find DA tracks, a collection of covers, a 16-minute collage by Merzbow, and as a final link to the future, one track by singer Jon Chang's new band, Gridlink.

For those not in the loop, Discordance Axis were – as they split up following their previous album, Jouhou – an ultra-fast, ultra-snarly grindcore band from the east coast. Perhaps the most extreme out there, their sound was like three speed-metal bands playing at the same time with extreme precision, topped by insane screaming cacophony.

The first two tracks are from Discordance Axis themselves, both of course very fast, very heavy, and very brief. In fact, of the CD's 21 songs, there are only two over a minute and a half long, and one of those is Merzbow's epic work. The opener is their "cover" of the Sega Bass Fishing theme, which must be heard to be believed.

Cide Projekt have most of the tracks here – 10 of them – and lay down drums and keyboards in a repetitive, hypnotic way. Imagine Kraftwerk if they were into hardcore instead of hallucinogens, or Slayer if they'd opted for old synths instead of guitars. "Macro (remix)" is the last of their tracks, a 5-minute construction that throws some breakbeats into the mix. Overall, it's fairly odd to hear DA tracks done electronically and sans-vocals.

Gate (no, this can't be the New Zealand band of the same name) spew out two super messy, high speed pieces of intensity that do DA proud, followed by three similarly powerful tracks by Mortalized. Melt-Banana, Noiseear and Gridlink all handle themselves ably, but there's no denying that Merzbow's remix of the entire "The Inalienable Dreamless" album is the centerpiece here. At over 16 minutes in length, it's a surprisingly recognizable work – the original material is there, simply chopped up, looped, buried in distortion and feedback (yes, more than it already was). It's a great piece, the ideal marriage of grind and noise.

By Mason Jones

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