As they begin their UK tour, we’re looking at Sweden’s next hottest export – The Great Discord.
You’ll be forgiven for not having heard of The Great Discord as they are still building their following but they are now set for really big things. So who are The Great Discord?
Hailing from Ghost’s home town of Linkoping in Sweden, they are a progressive death metal band who immediately bring to mind an odd collection of bands like Mastadon, Evanesence, Meshuggah, Lamb of God and Converge. While their first album, ‘Duende‘, was technically gifted it wasn’t an easily accessible piece of work, whereas new album ‘The Rabbit Hole‘ is a lot more straightforward and could be a massive hit if first single ‘Darkest Day‘ is anything to go by. Darkest Day is easily the release of the year for us here at Gear4Geeks and we’re pretty sure this is the beginning of The Great Discord becoming The Next Big Thing.
The Great Discord were formed by front woman Fia Kempe and drummer Aksel Holmgren in 2011 when the two friends went out to a cabin in the woods with recording equipment to see what they could put together. The two had been in separate bands but this was their first collaboration and they immediately knew they had something when they wrote what would become the song ‘Deus Ex Homine’. Over the next week three more songs were written, in the following year Duende was slowly put together along with the concept of the band – The Great Discord is more than just music, it is a performance around human emotions and conditions with Kempe dressed entirely in black Lycra and an expressionless white painted face representing the songs via her blank persona that she uses on stage. Kempe is a whirlwind on stage as she is possessed by the theme of the music in contrast to the rest of the band who remain almost distanced from her.
Duende was mixed and mastered in February 2015 then released on May 29th 2015 in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, June 1st 2015 in the rest of Europe and June 2nd 2015 in North America. The album covers the spectrum of human emotions but also behaviour as it explores addiction, sorrow, death and darker subjects. Duende doesn’t feature the typical long intros found in most prog music but instead kicks straight in then splits off with schizophrenic tempo changes and style changes. Kempe and Holmgren have varied tastes in music and it shows here as a merge of their influences such as Dillinger Escape Plan, Genesis, King Crimson, Opeth and even Cannibal Corpse. The album is a fantastic merge of styles and you can tell that both Kempe and Holmgren are musical geniuses who’s lives are immersed in music; Holmgren discovered Metallica‘s …And Justice for All at the age of 7, while Kempe comes from a musical family where her father, Anders, is a music teacher and talented musician in his own right, which makes Duende a stylish labour of love by two people who are on a different scale to the rest of us.
On the 26th of August 2015 a digital only EP ‘Echoes‘ was released featuring a stripped down acoustic version of The Aging Man, along with covers of The Deftones‘ Cherry Waves and Mars Volta‘s Inertiatic ESP plus radio edits of The Aging Man and Ephemeral. Echoes now gave listeners a much more accessible jumping on point for this eclectic band. The rest of 2015 was spent playing live in Linkoping and a one off date in London while merch was produced in the style of movie posters, a tactic which had worked very well for Ghost. Fia provided backing vocals for Dead Soul‘s second album The Sheltering Sky but the year closed out with The Great Discord clocking up 132,000 listens on Spotify and Duende being staff picks for one of the albums of the year by Metal Hammer magazine and Bloody-Disgusting.
Little did The Great Discord know that 2016 would be even better.
The year started with the band playing a few large gigs in Sweden and Fia providing backing vocals to two songs on Vanhelgd‘s Temple of Phobos album. However, on September 12th Ghost released their EP Popestar which featured Fia on backing vocals for Missionary Man and Bible, bringing The Great Discord to a far wider audience. Kempe went on to provide backing vocals for several songs on TiD‘s Fix Idé EP which was released on October 7th. October saw the band return to the studio to begin work on the follow up to Duende, an album we now know will be called The Rabbit Hole and the band broke 1 million listens on Spotify. In December TGD announced that they would be supporting Ghost on their mainland tour of Europe and Popestar was nominated for a Swedish Grammi award for Hard Rock/Metal Album of the Year.
2017 looks set to top all that.
A UK tour for May in support of Katatonia was announced and Popestar won the Grammi in February. March saw the return of Linkoping band Magna Carta Cartel with a re-recording of fan favourite ‘Sway‘ with Fia Kempe on guest vocals. On the 21st of March The Great Discord released a teaser video for the new album which also revealed a new look for Fia as she was now adorned with a red headpiece and a feathered upper body piece. The bank muse has evolved to her next form. At the end of the month MCC released a second track, The Demon King, again with backing vocals by Kempe. On the 20th of April Darkest Day is released and Fia’s new look was revealed in full.
Just over a week later, at the biggest show of the European Ghost tour in Stockholm, Sweden, Fia Kempe would dominate discussion as she joined Ghost on stage for their only live rendition of Bible from the Popestar EP. Tonight the band begin their first UK tour in support of Katatonia in Leeds, one of those tours that will go down for us Brits as a “I saw them before they were huge” bragging rights opportunity.
May 07 Brudenell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom
May 08 The Marble Factory Bristol, United Kingdom
May 09 Slade Rooms Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
May 10 Engine Rooms Southampton, United Kingdom
May 11 Sound Control Manchester, United Kingdom
May 12 Garage Glasgow, United Kingdom
May 13 Limelight 2 Belfast, United Kingdom
May 14 Academy Dublin, Ireland