2018 has been a fantastic year for death-metal freaks such as myself, and it’s about to get even better. This fact will be proven by the upcoming release of Binge/Purge, the latest EP from the dissonant death dealers Dischordia. By now you’ve most likely guessed that Dischordia is, indeed, a dissonant death metal band. Dissonance is certainly a factor of their identity; however, it’s merely one individual factor. For under the cloak of dissonance and mathcore elements lies both technical and progressive death metal characteristics, yet the acceptance of experimentation is still permitted within the sonic chaos. Despite the overbearing amount of elements within their composition, Dischordia never sacrifice any songwriting characteristic due to lack of creativity and manage to re-write the formula for such tried and true song structures again and again. The Oklahoma based three-piece actually formed in 2010, however, they showcase a level of songwriting only scene veterans have obtained, this expiriance being largly apparent on Binge/Purge. Now, on June 15th, their latest EP will be unleashed to the masses. Simply put, Binge/Purge is a 24-minute musical journey documenting a composition just as intriguing as its concept. I was very fortunate to have been able to discuss various details of the EP with the band, as well as the EP’s production and their upcoming east-coast tour. Due to the complex nature of their work, there was quite a lot to dive into, and fear not, they did.
Indy Metal Vault: Firstly, thank you guys so much for agreeing to commit to this interview. Between your family responsibilities and preparation for your upcoming tour, I can’t even begin to imagine the chaos of such a schedule. Dischordia’s new EP, Binge/Purge, is set to release on June 15th. As a band, what do you believe to have achieved upon the EP, and how would you say you have grown sonically since the release of the Creator/Destroyer EP?
Dischordia: We appreciate your time and interest in the band. Binge/Purge represents our most collaborative and well-rounded effort to date. We believe it showcases both our individual strengths and collective vision as musicians. Not a lot of bands can have three separate writers who gel so well together. We definitely feel more mature in composing since our first EP in 2011. We feel more comfortable trying new things and testing the limits of death metal at the risk of being called posers and not trve (although we are most definitely posers who are not trve). That being said, Creator/Destroyer had the makings of our progressive death metal vision. The last track on the EP, “Radioactive Iodine 121,” is an eight-minute song that highlighted a direction we planned to build upon with each following release.
IMV: I wanted to ask why the decision was made to create such a lengthy and complex EP, rather than an actual full-length record. Dischordia are no strangers to this musical format of course, yet even on the prior EPs Creator/Destroyer and Sources, the songs were of a typical length, and the concept wasn’t as ambiguous in musical direction or imagery, or at least not on this level. Essentially, why did you decide to release such a career-defining composition as an EP rather than add more content to create a full-length?
D: There are several reasons why we decided on an EP rather than a full-length record. First, it’s what the songs called for this time. The concept itself is what dictates the length. We try to let things happen as naturally as possible. The initial idea of B/P felt complete as a two-song EP. We ran into a similar issue when recording Thanatopsis. We wrote the three-song suite (“The River,” “The Road,” and “The Ruin”) that opens the record toward the end of the writing sessions and considered putting those three songs out as a seperate 16 minute EP, but felt the other six songs we had ready were really strong and complimented the suite in different ways. Second, EPs allow bands to experiment more with their sound. It was exciting watching Meshuggah in the early 2000’s follow the LP, EP, LP model and tracking the progression from the LP’s Nothing to Catch Thirtythree and how the EP I bridged the records perfectly. Lastly, our schedules didn’t allow for us to record another full-length album. Timing is everything.
IMV: To achieve the status of ultimate brutality, the flute, ukulele, and even the marimba are incorporated into your sound within the EP. Dischordia has certainly made use of the flute in earlier material, even within live shows, yet the ukulele and marimba seem to entirely new to your composition, at least to my knowledge. How do you believe these instruments aid the music sonically, as opposed to the standard instrumental force of typical guitars, drums, and vocal work?
D: Write this down: flute is the ultimate level of brutality in metal! Guitars, drums, and vocals will probably always be the bedrock of our sound, but we like to push the metal envelope. We use different instruments depending on what the song needs, we’re not trying for extra credit to just cram things in without really thinking about how it contributes to the bigger picture. We’ve been experimenting with non-traditional metal instrumentation (flute, xylophone, aux percussion, etc.) on each release without forcing the concept. The marimba on “Purge” fits the piano line like a warm, soothing glove. The ukulele on “Binge” worked best for the clean guitar line. Keeno actually experimented with different acoustic guitars and a mandolin before deciding on the ukulele’s timbre. We’re really proud of how the choir line came together as the glue in the outro of “Purge.” It adds a haunting feel with just a touch of beauty. Again, we try to let things happen as naturally as possible. Turner and Josh both went to college to study percussion, so periodically adding things like marimba is always in the back of our minds.
IMV: Binge/Purge naturally stands out from the rest of your discography due to its songwriting, and the conceptual elements are just as astounding. Regarding the concept, Keeno stated that “Binge/Purge is a modern take on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy within our own political-cultural system”. You also mentioned within an interview with technicalmusicreview.com that this concept has been tossed around beforehand, yet had not come to fruition due to the lack of substantial music content. At what point did the band decide that the instrumental element of Binge/Purge was the fitting for the concept and why?
D: We have a back catalog of song ideas and lyrical concepts that you wouldn’t believe, but for this release it felt like we needed to start from scratch (musically speaking) and really push ourselves forward in directions we started on our last album. When we decided on B/P being a two-song EP, the idea of a two act lyrical story arc made the most sense. Dante’s Inferno and Purgatorio leaped from the recesses of our concept catalog and proved to be a terrific jumping off point. “Binge” frantically traces our fall from grace into the different levels of hell. “Purge” sludges us through mount purgatory on our quest towards redemption. We didn’t use the third poem (Paradiso) in The Divine Comedy because (*SPOILER ALERT*) we didn’t want a happy ending.
IMV: Despite the overall quality of one’s composition, a record is usually not of quality without a production that really highlights the record’s content. Colin Marston was brought on to mix and master the Binge/Purge EP, Colin being a living deity who not only is a fantastic producer but is also a part of many fantastic bands, the most prominent being Gorguts. With him being such a major influence upon the metal scene, what was it like working with him to bring Binge/Purge to light? How do you believe he enhanced the music with his production?
D: It was amazing overall. He was a complete professional with everything and really went above and beyond for us. We knew with the more dissonant scope of this material that he’d be a ideal fit for bringing it to life. He’s got a fantastic ear for emphasizing a natural sort of grittiness in a band’s sound, and then balancing that with the clarity needed to bring out the necessary details and intricacies. And it doesn’t hurt that he was just a really nice and pleasant dude to work with the whole time, despite his absolutely insane schedule.
IMV: June 14th kicks off The Reaping Tour along with The Summoning. What are the expectations you have regarding the reception of the new material live, especially in comparison to your older material? What aspects are you looking forward to for the music’s live debut?
D: Binge/Purge has a lot of layers to it and playing it live is an intense experience. We’re extremely excited to get to share some of that with people on this tour. We try to write music that is so intoxicating or interesting that it pulls you out of what/who you are. Hopefully, we can give that experience to as many people as possible on this go around. For people that have seen us before, it’ll be a pleasing growth from previous material. The music itself is a logical leap from what we’ve explored on Thanatopsis and we feel like it’s a much more visceral experience. Live, I think this music pulls more out of us as players and we kind of “give in” to it a bit more. So, hopefully that will add to everyone’s live experience of the new material.
IMV: Thanks again for taking the time to answer some questions, and thanks for the fantastic EP. Is there anything else you’d like to say that hasn’t been covered yet?
D: Thank you so much! As we always say: metal sucks, get a real job. #dadmetal
Binge/Purge will be available June 15th via Bandcamp. Go pre-order it! And while you’re at it, see if you can catch them live during The Reaping Tour along the east coast, which begins June 14th.