Swedish band The Great Discord’s second album The Rabbit Hole is released next week, Morg gives it a listen for Gear4Geeks
The Great Discord have been creating a great buzz over the last two years; their first album Duende was released in 2015 and gained a steady following mainly thanks to rumours that drummer Axsel Holmgrem had played in Ghost, a fact confirmed by Ghost’s lawsuit and the sticker on the front of The Rabbit Hole. However, in 2016 it was front woman Fia Kempe who started to gather attention after she performed backing vocals on Ghost’s Grammi winning Popestar EP, leading to The Great Discord touring with Ghost earlier this year and allowing Ghost to finally play Bible live with Kemp outshining Papa Emeritus III.
It’d be easy to write off The Great Discord as a band who are just getting attention because of their association with Ghost, but that would be doing them a massive disservice as this is one of Metal’s most talented bands. It’s rare for a band to release a second album that blows away their first effort but if anyone was going to do it then it’d be The Great Discord. Their prog-metal style meant that Duende was a good album albeit a little hard to get into as it wasn’t dancefloor/radio friendly whereas The Rabbit Hole is still proggy but features a far more polished product – it’s not a comprise to the band’s sound but the album is much more listenable as the tempo changes aren’t quite as schizophrenic as they previously were.
Opening track Dimman is an instrumental piece to lead us down the rabbit hole while Noire and Gadget are storming kick off tracks that showcase the band’s tempo changing riffing and act as a great reintroduction to old fans before Darkest Day kicks in and everything goes up ten gears. Darkest Day was the first single from the album and still stands up as the song of the year so far with it’s massive no-nonsense kick in the throat opening riff and Kempe’s incredibly emotional vocals reminiscent of Evanescence on steroids. If DJs actually took risks then this would be a monstrous club hit.
The Tell Tale Heart opens Act II with a hypnotic rhythm that beautifully sets up second single The Red Rabbit. If this song has a flaw it was that the music video was so filled with craziness that it was easy to get drawn into it and forget the music, but without the video the song can step out of the shadow and it’s slightly terrifying. Neon Dreaming is a beautiful stripped down song closing out Act II which could have easily been the end of the album but Cadence gently eases us into Act III right until that massive riff kicks in and reminds you that this isn’t your father’s concept album, this is one of metal’s most under-rated bands kicking down your front door. It was hard to imagine a song on the album rivalling Darkest Day but Cadance manages it.
The last two songs are third single Omen, another huge song which showcases Kempe’s phenomenal voice, a reminder of she’s seen as one of the best vocalists in metal, and album closer Persona. It seemed for a moment that we’d be getting a dreamy instrumental to play us out until the frantic guitar riff kicks in and you just know that huge bass drop is coming courtesy of Holmgren and bassist Rasmus Carlsson but when it hits, it hits big. Ironically the album closes with the lyrics “I will leave you here, Ire” and this breathtaking journey is sadly over leaving you empty knowing that it’ll be another two years until you hear an album this good again.
Kempe already has teased a piano and vocal only version of Darkest Day which needs to be recorded and we can only hope that the band release a follow up EP of reworked songs as they did with Duende.
Sepultura, Prong, Nine Inch Nails, AFI, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes, Annihilator, Ghost, Obituary, Incubus, Dragonforce, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Danzig, Anathema, Aphex Twin, Ranicd, CKY, Nickelback, Royal Blood, Stone Sour, Alice Cooper and Queens of the Stone Age all have two things in common: they all released albums or EPs this year and all of them just got blown away by The Great Discord. It’s really very hard to see this album being beaten this year even by the upcoming Foo Fighters and Tori Amos efforts as this album is a sold 9 and a half out of 10.
Fia Kempe, Axel Holmgren, Rasmus Carlsson, Andre Axell and Gustav Almberg should really be proud of what they’ve created – a contender for both album of the year and album of the decade.
The Rabbit Hole is released on the 8th of September in Europe and the 6th of October in the UK, and can be preordered here.