I was very impressed with Dissona’s self-titled debut album which was released in 2012. This Chicago band have a way of mixing Devin Townsend-like insanity with the experimental nature of Arcturus. And rather than making the same album over again, Dissona sets out to push each element of their sound further out.
“Another Sky” is a great example of the aforementioned influences. David Dubenic’s versatile voice is what allows Dissona to do basically whatever they want musically because he can pull off the clean vocal or a killer harsh vocal as he does midway thru this track whilst the band is doing their best electronic Arcturian freak out.
Like most albums that I truly love, “Paleopneumatic” is oozing with dynamics. Each track has its own unique identity with peaks and valleys galore. From the barren synth opening of “Fire-Bellied” to the throbbing synths in “Outside the Skin,” the start of this album showcases Dissona’s ability to give each song everything it needs. “Breach” feels like it could be on an Ihsahn album! Not many bands could pull that off! Dubenic even howls a bit like Warrel Dane from time to time which also works for me. “Totality” has a harpsichord and a violin, and yet the rest of the song is heavy as fuck.
The latter half of the album maintains the high quality of the first. “Odium” might be as straight-forward as Dissona can be. But that still means a left turn midway thru the song. The only thing I don’t quite care for shows up right before the solo on “Odium.” It ALMOST sounds like a Disturbed like vocal. It’s not nearly as hideous as they are, but it really doesn’t add to the song. Finishing with a tribal rhythm rescues things nicely.
“Anastomosis” is its own island, a beautiful solo piano piece. It leads nicely into the piano stomp intro of “Lysis.” “Lysis” has some killer riffing but I am not keen on what sounds like someone hitting a box or something during the chorus. It’s another slight overshot by Dissona. It’s tough because these guys do add so much to each song and most times, it really works well. This is just a minor quibble though. The band finish strong with the grandiose powerhouse “The Last Resistance” and the oddball closer “Sunderance.” I won’t even explain that one.
There are many bands that claim to be progressive but Dissona actually deliver as advertised. They approach their music with drive and purpose. Thus, “Paleopneumatic” is controlled chaos layered with strong hooks and melody but driven by a true sense of adventure.
1. Another Sky
3. Outside the Skin
9. The Last Resistance