(The Sign Records)
Always a smart call to deliver some calm before the storm.
Needle to groove on the Swedish prog metallers’ much anticipated second album and we’re moving sedately to the slightly haunting strains of an instrumental more high church than hard rock.
Opener Dimman is short, unnervingly sweet and gives not a hint of the maelstrom dead ahead.
So with mood carefully set and senses suitably lulled, the Discord just hot-wire the whole nine yards and start smacking you so hard you’re left wide eyed and awe-struck.
In the blink of an epic hook and the flash of an incendiary riff, they turn the harmless horizon into something dark and very different.
Noire, all crunching guitar and power stomp, starts the impeccable onslaught, Gadget is a sports-drive speed demon, and the stellar Cadence manages to top them both.
Even Neon Dreaming, a pause for breath and an elegant, glacial waltz, feels perfectly placed.
And then there’s Darkest Day, a blast of breathtaking, beautifully controlled chaos. It’s the album’s finest moment and a track that scales the walls of perfection, glories in the view and screams its excellence right in your face.
Fia Kempe – like a white faced Watcher of the Sky Gabriel – is a riveting leader whose voice could shake continents.
Behind her, The Discord dazzle with often savage precision.
And cut by cut, the album grabs in a steel-strong embrace, a set that proves once again that whatever the genre, songwriting this good just can’t fail.
Whoever said second albums were tricky might need to look away.
For the rest….plug in, play loud and breathe in the intoxicating aroma of greatness.