Dissona – Dreadfully Distinct EP
Release Date: 03/11/23
Running Time: 15:40
Review by Oli Gonzalez
Chicago based Progressive Metallers Dissona are up next on my review list, on the eve of their latest release ‘Dreadfully Distinct’. This 3 track EP is written as a concept based around characters from the cult classic film series “Blade Runner.” Unfortunately, I’m one of those who desperately needs a movie education and this is one of many that I haven’t seen. I’d be curious to hear from someone who understands and knows the franchise in some detail, to see what kind of experience they have listening to this release. I want to know if there’s any Easter eggs or other lyrical references I would have missed.
Dissona are a new band to me, but have been around in some form or another for about 17 years. I’ve been a fan of Progressive style music for a while now though, and was excited to check them out. Having begun as a high school project, the band went through some carnations of lineups in their early days, before settling and getting their music out there. They have some pretty impressive support to their name, including the genre heavyweights Leprous! So Dissona must have something special to offer to be recognised by the Norwegian legends. Let’s get into it.
This review will be short and sweet. Much like the EP is, coming in at just over quarter of an hour.
The EP kicks off nicely with ‘Prodigal Son’. I really enjoyed the cinematic feel to it, and the clever use of synths throughout. I was picking up on a more subtle Industrial edge too, adding more variety to the sound. The guitars feel sharp, with a very modern tone. The main melodic hook for me is the vocals of David though. After listening to the song, I found myself walking around the house either humming along to the melody or singing the chorus aloud. Pretty good result for the band if they’re making me react like that! His voice has a strong almost operatic quality to it, sitting in the lower register, almost like you’d hear in Power Metal (i.e. like Battlelore). He’s able to mix in the occasional growl as well. As a little bonus, I checked out the official video for this track. It’s awesome to see bands putting in so much effort to the narrative and videography, a lost art really, so I’d encourage anybody reading this to check it out.
Much of what I can say for ‘Prodigal Son’ can be said for ‘Renaissance’. Solid guitar work, strong vocals, and overall aesthetically pleasing. Whereas the Power/Symphonic elements were more subtle in the previous song, this is a lot more prominent in the EP’s second song. This is driven by the orchestral strings in the backing tracks, as well as David’s vocals which have that more epic feel to them. Would the final song, Skinjob follow in a similar Progressive/Power Metal style?
Not quite. Skinjob feels a lot more stripped down, with virtually no guitars this time and driven a lot more by electronic components; electric drums and synths. A lot more effects are utilised with David’s voice too. I’m not sure if I like this really. It seems a shame to waste such a talented voice with unnecessary effects. Kind of like putting bumper sticks on a Ferrari. Nonetheless, it’s still a fun song and a welcome change of pace.
Overall this is a solid effort for the band. Short, sweet, and to the point. I’ve listened to Dreadfully Distinct several times now and I’m sure you will too on release day.
‘Prodigal Son’ Official Video
01. The Prodigal Son
David Dubenic – Vocals
Matt Motto – Guitars
Craig Hamburger – Bass
Drew Goddard – Drums
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