overground scene


Who’s Who? About Disfear and others…

In the older times when we could not find everything with the touch of a button, when we wanted to find a new band we were going for those with the most impressive cover art. Of course it would help if we had previously seen the name of the band in the “thanks list” of one of our favorite bands. That would actually provide a pretty good guarantee. Sadly, that did not work some times. For instance, sometime in 1995/6 me and my friend Nikos saw the impressive layout of Meshuggah‘s contradictions collapse, and we knew already they were a Nuclear Blast band. However, when we asked the store owner to play it for us we were shocked by how much we hated it (up to this day I don’t like Meshuggah).

Later on, we were looking at the producers and the members of the bands for any familiarities. That’s is how we discovered Disfear. They had cool covers, nice old school logo and, most importantly for me, Fred Estby was the producer (I think everyday slaughter is the CD I am talking about). I thought (and still think) of Estby as a God, so all clues pointed towards a good album. In reality, though, it was just a poor replica of Discharge with a more ‘metal’ sound. In fact, Sweden has a long history of Discharge replicas throughout the eighties. The funny thing is that a lot of people really admire the swedish scene for that. I cannot understand why. I find myself admiring more bands like Strebers, who released awesome albums (e.g. oga for oga) and were original, than hardcore macho punks who played the same thing over and over again.

I did not busy myself with Disfear again. I learned recently that Cederlund (Entombed) and Lindberg (At the Gates, Lock Up) was for sometime now part of Disfear. So, I found their latest album (Live the storm) and I was shocked. It is truly a masterpiece. It still has nothing original, but the songs are one better than the other. Lindberg’s vocals are supreme and they lift the album to a high level. The way that he says stuff like “..stand up and be counted!…”, is unique and only Lindberg can pull it off. The guitars and drums are perfect as well. There are a couple of Entombed-like solos here and there, and there is one solo that reminds me of the one from ‘Seeing red’ of Entombed (The Furnace)! The production is massive.

When I first listened to the album, I said to myself …wait a minute… that’s exactly like Tragedy! (later my friend Aristea told me, and I think she is right, that it reminded her of Motorhead). Indeed, the production and melodies remind a lot of Tragedy and songs like ‘Testament‘ remind of Severed Head of State. On the one hand, we are talking about Swedes who play discharge-inspired hardcore. On the other hand, we talk about Americans who play Discharge-inspired hardcore as well, but who definitely came after the old school of Swedish death metal Lindberg and Cederlund originate from. When I first listened to Tragedy three years ago the first thing I said was that they copy the melodies of old school swedish death metal and some British bands like Bolt Thrower. If a deathster listens to the intro of the latest Tragedy album they will definitely be reminded of Bolt Thrower! The melody that follows reminds of early Desultory or Dismember. It might be a coincidence, but I do not think so. After all, these bands are not ashamed to show they have influences. The intro of their song Vengeance is borrowed from Amebix‘s Arise; the melody in their song Beginning of the end is the same as one song from Born Dead Icons, I cannot remember which now but I think it’s privacy extinct (The same riff is also reminiscent of Strebers).

My friend Aristea was telling me about post-modernism in arts or something, a while ago. The claim that nothing original comes out nowadays is true I think. At least not something I know about. Everything is recycled. There are power metal with death-metal clones (children of bottom and others), NU metal which is actually metal mixed with pop music and hip hop, or whatever. System of a down were praised as doing something original when they were not! They have combined elements from metal and punk in a really nice way, but not original. Nomeansno were doing what S.O.A.D are doing now, 20 years ago! Bad Brains and Dead Kennedys 30 years ago!

I don’t expect from a new band to be original to draw my attention, just inspired. I think the new Disfear record is inspired, forceful and inspiring. And I am really looking forward on seeing Cederlund and Lindberg together on stage!

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2 Comments so far
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i think there should be a distinction drawn here. It’s one thing to plainly copy or be a ‘clone’ like you say, and another to reference another band, musical genre and so on and play with it. Inspired is also trip-hop that uses samples from jazz, it tells you honestly that they rework musical influences but produce something that has not been heard before. It is a hybrid, not new and authentic because in post-modernism this is meaningless.
Since Dead Kennedys and NoMeansNo are already part of postmodern music and they come from postmodern cultures, there is no point in talking about them as if they are the ‘original’ and SOAD are not. None is original. The difference is how far they take themselves seriously and obviously neither Nomeansno nor Biafra take themselves seriously, irony is allover them.

Comment by aristea

I agree with most of what you’re saying. I disagree with the part about Dead Kennedys not being original. Yes, Nomeansno are not 100% original because they incorporate elements of punk, progressive rock and jazz. But the Dead Kennedys are original. They are not a combination of two or more kinds of music. Songs like ‘Drug me’ or ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ cannot be disaggregated to their constituent parts. They are coherent and unique as they are.

Comment by lentil81




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