Brock Hard with DISSOpointment


Having listened to metal in almost all its forms for approximately 20 years now, my tastes have fluctuated and matured constantly throughout this journey of musical enjoyment. After establishing myself as an alpha 6th grader listening to cult underground legends such as Disturbed and Godsmack, my infatuation was then corralled by catchy melodeath and symphonic black metal; as I dove ever deeper into the dregs of subgenres, I became ensnared by what has become my true love (sorry family). I speak of dissonant/atonal metal, specifically the death and black varietals. With groups such as Gorguts and Ulcerate coming to my attention, I was initially turned off mainly due to being confused by them. Where are the soaring leads and catchy riffs? But it was this confusion that brought me back as a challenging game or book may turn you away with its density, but constantly calls back to you like a beckoning siren.

I would listen to such music occasionally throughout the years, but it was never something that I would’ve ever called my favorite. This changed, however, with the self-titled debut from Dodecahedron. This album…this goddamn album was (and still is) my obsession. I have listened to it dozens upon dozens of times, but there is always a little new nugget I discover with each spin. Now having my obsession unlocked, dissonant death/black has become my firm preference for style. With this quick and simplified introduction out of the way, let’s get to the point of this article: bringing a small spotlight to underground releases that are guaranteed to titillate that part of your brain that searches for something unfamiliar and different.

Asphalt GrievingLack of Certainty (January 8)

Released early in January, this group from Santiago, Chile opened 2024 with a vitriol that most only dare attempt. Blending the stylings of black and death, Asphalt Grieving have constructed
something both eerie and head-bobbing in this debut EP. Just listen to the opening track “Stranded Navigation” and feel the shift from standard riffage to complete disso-weirdness at the 0:48 mark. This sonic concoction is accompanied by a vocal performance that can perhaps best be described as wounded howler monkey. Crafting strong compositions is key for this band and Lack of Certainty is certainly a promising introduction for these upstarts.

OwlGhosts of Summer (February 20)

Be fooled by neither the band name nor album title. Total Dissonance Worship’s Owl comes swinging out the gate with a ferocity that is not easily contained by the restraints of traditional music framing. Using the wall of noise approach, without being overwhelming, this German duo focus on mixing death, black, and doom with a touch of sludge sprinkled in with forceful effect. They take what fellow labelmates Nightmarer crafted in the previous year and add more straightforward aggression along with a vocal delivery rivaling abrasive acts such as Vermin Womb and Voidthrone. Closing out this experience is a 10-minute crusher of wills that will leave you feeling both defeated and begging for more.

HecatoncheirNightmare Utopia (February 29)

Not being satisfied unleashing just one killer release in February, Total Dissonance Worship has also unveiled this killer debut from Hecatoncheir. Just check out the stunning album art and you will get a sense of what’s to come. Doom-laden and more atmospheric than the other bands here, Hecatoncheir rely on texture and surprises to unsettle their listeners. The pummeling bass adds additional grey matter-emulsifying heaviness accompanied by somber feelings of melancholy thanks to slower passages invoking emptiness such as the likes of Spectral Voice. Methodical, but never meandering. Let the waves of the expanding void overtake you, as fighting it will be futile.

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