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Disharmony – Malignant Shields

Disharmony - Malignant Shields

CD, Aliens Productions, 2007

Disharmony come from Slovakia, probably one of the former Eastern Bloc’s more well developed nations as far as musical exports go, and can easily stand up to comparison with some of the German or American leaders of the electro-industrial scene. But like many of the bands in this oversaturated and at times frustratingly predictable scene, they employ typical clichés, such as pointless capitalisation in their moniker (i.e., dISHARMONY) and the assumed names of the band members, Lord Sauron and Ryby. However my main complaint is the tiresome nature of the vocals, which persist in spewing forth in a relentless sore throat screech. Given the complex and well thought out nature of Disharmony’s music, the black metal-style rasping and growling really stands out awkwardly and could certainly restrict their appeal to a narrower audience.
The music is generally the main focus on this latest album, “Malignant Shields,” and offers some fine soundtracks until Sauron turns up to dry heave all over the place. Working up from melodic and melancholic dark ambient electronica, via distorted syncopated beats, to more accessible mid-paced pieces in the best progressive EBM tradition, there is plenty of skill and imagination on display. Warm synth pads give a strong otherworldly feeling, enhanced by subtle, subdued bass lines and driven forth by complex, detailed polyrhythms. Frequently a delicate piano-like melody tastefully decorates the compositions, at times replaced by more exotic instruments, and together with mysterious vocal samples gives a great sense of a film yet to be made.
The better pieces are naturally the instrumental tracks; the soothingly despondent “Oblivions” makes the best impression, the crunchy “Twilight Zone” offers some nervous excitement and the delightfully bleak “Human Deadline” provides a sombre moment of reflection. Of course, if you’re a fan of screechy vocals, and these are more in the natural, extreme metal style than the excess distortion of many EBM bands, then it would be harder to fault this album. But I genuinely feel that beyond a matter of taste, this vocal style is quite unsuited to the rich subtleties and varied compositions Disharmony are capable of delivering. If they can develop a more mature singing style, as well as dropping other genre clichés, they could truly become a great force on the world stage.


— Nathan Clemence

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