The Great Discord – The Rabbit Hole (Review)

The Great DiscordThis is the second album from Swedish progressive metallers The Great Discord.

Ever since catching them live supporting Katatonia earlier this year, I’ve been a huge fan of The Great Discord and their impressive and enjoyable debut album Duende.

I was a bit late to the party with that album, so it feels like it only came out a few months ago. The reality, of course, is that it was released in 2015, so this new album has come at about the right time.

Compared to that of their debut album, the artwork for The Rabbit Hole is less striking and more subtle, whereas the music the album contains manages to weave together both aspects successfully, developing the style established on their first release.

This doesn’t mean that there has been a huge shift in the band’s sound, of course; like the cover, it’s more subtle than that. The music still has all of the personality and character displayed on their debut, only some of the less-accessible progressive edges have been smoothed out in favour of a more direct approach to dark metallic pop. Try as I might, I can’t find fault with this approach, as the final product is just so damn good.

The band seem to have taken the formula that they executed so well on Duende and have refined and honed it to a sharp killing point. The songs on The Rabbit Hole are concise and efficient, but still manage to have huge amounts of quirky appeal and emotive substance, despite this. Maybe even because of this; the band have become even more adept at packing in a large amount of content into songs that mainly hover between the 3-5 minute marks, while managing to make them feel half the length.

And all this without even mentioning the star of the show, the band’s incredibly talented singer. Having witnessed her in the live environment where she absolutely dominated every inch of the stage with her formidable personality, I can safely say that she’s somehow managed to capture this imposing presence and reproduce it faithfully on The Rabbit Hole. Her voice and her performance are faultless, and she’s definitely one of my favourite singers. Put simply; her voice is incredibly versatile and powerful.

All of this would be less effective if the songs weren’t as effective and as well-written as they are, of course. The music is full of hooks and catchy, memorable parts; the real key to this album’s success is that this compelling delivery combines both instant-appeal attention grabbing moments, as well as emotive and atmospheric sections that add real substance and depth to the music, drawing the listener back to repeat the experience again and again. The Rabbit Hole is one of those albums that impresses on first listen, but then simply gets better with time.

As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of The Great Discord. After enjoying Duende so much I was a bit apprehensive as to whether or not the band would be able to follow it up with something as good. Well, foolish me for worrying, as The Rabbit Hole is everything I wanted and more.

Top stuff. Now I just need to be able to catch them live once more.

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