Track Premiere and Interview: Dysgnostic Unleash Dissonant Fury
Maybe it's only fitting that the entire world seems to be engulfed in dissonance just as that term, whether used correctly or not (don't ask me, I have no idea), has taken over extreme music since…. Ah, Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate? But regardless of the ubiquity of that impulse, it's rarely used so effectively, and so beautifully than by Danish death metal outfit Dysgnostic, who are due to release a brilliant, brilliant (brilliant) album by the name of Scar Echoes later this month via Transcending Obscurity Records.
Such a brilliant record, in fact, that I am more than honored to be able to preview the album's closing track, the meditative, crushing, and absolutely stunning "Darkest Muse," presented here along with the other available singles. Pace, to me, seems to be the secret sauce of this song, but in many ways emblematic of the flow and feel of the album as a whole. Yes, it will annihilate you, that much is unsurprisingly clear. But it does so in a manner that, perhaps resembling Zhrine and Ulcerate, shows intent. They don't drown you in it, in other words, they trap you into it.
And with such a great album coming, and with the opportunity to premiere this special track, comes the bonus of getting to interview Dysgnostic bassist and vocalist Thomas Fischer about some of the music and artists that helped him become the musician he is today. Enjoy the interview, enjoy the track, and keep safe.
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What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
I honestly don't remember when, or what album. I think I was 7 or 8. It was probably a Shu-Bi-Dua record, a pretty mediocre Danish rock band that had funny lyrics. I probably bought it in the local electronics store. Not the most transformative experience.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Growing up? CDs of danish sketch comedy or bands with funny lyrics. I didn't really get into metal until I was around 15-16. I definitely wasn't raised on it, nor on rock for that matter. What albums influenced me the most is probably a more interesting question. That happens while growing up for some, but for me, much later. I'd say Fas by Deathspell Omega. The absolute madness of that record is still unmatched. You can clearly hear the influence on the record.
Annihilation of the Wicked by Nile is also a strong contender. That one came out just around when I started getting into metal and it's still one of the most intense and best sounding death metal records in the catalogue. Even with a beast like Kollias on the drums, they also aren't afraid to slow down. I keep that in the back of my head. Fast all the time stops feeling fast.
It would also be foolish not to mention the importance of Obscura by Gorguts. The use of extended techniques, the tonality, the bass playing. It's like a free jazz record in a way, in its playfulness and deliberate eschewing of tradition.
What albums taught you the most about the technical aspect of making music?
Any Steely Dan album is a who's who and what's what in terms of sound production. Nothing has reached that level of pristine sound since, and nothing probably ever will. For metal. I'd say Destroyers of All by Ulcerate [see our AOTD interview about that album here, MM]. The layering of voices and textures made me think a lot about what is possible in an album setting.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Not an album. The piece Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima by Krzyzstof Penderecki. After that experience, most music seems pretty tame and pleasant sounding. Deathspell Omega and Portal come close. The mid-section of "Darkest Muse" uses some of that extreme dissonance, although it's in a mostly consonant context.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
Catch Thirtythree by Meshuggah. There's something about the undulating and angular riffs and polymetric riffs. The fact that you can't quite grasp it fully, puts me into a meditative and present state.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
I feel like there's been a bit of a slump in quality releases since 2017. The first Suffering Hour album, Starspawn by Blood Incantation [AOTY interview with the band, MM] and Unortheta by Zhrine are probably my favorite “recent” releases, but they aren't really part of the present moment anymore. I don't have the time to really submerge myself in albums that I once did. Neither do a lot of people it seems, the focus is becoming more and more on singles and accompanying videos. I guess that's the attention economy for you. Albums require a bigger investment of the listener.
What album is grossly underrated?
A pretty unsung band is Akercocke in my opinion. They have a cult following, but aren't really part of the death metal "canon." Maybe it's the goofy satan-and-boobs aesthetic or the high amount of theatrical clean vocals, but they have some really interesting compositions. Most of their discography really, but I'd highlight Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone. They're probably one of the only truly progressive death metal bands. There's some pretty harsh contrasts, odd-time riffing, weird synth-parts, but none of it feels out of place to me. There's even sweeping and tapping sections, but it never feels like show-offery.
I tried experimenting with some of this style for this album, there's some demos on my PC with weird clean vocal sections on the songs, but I ultimately abandoned it, it didn't fit.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Funeral Phantoms by Exmortem. Still one of the best albums to come out of Denmark.