(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by No One Knows What the Dead Think, which is set for release on September 20 by Willowtip Records.)
All hail the new flesh, the new band that is a merciless reincarnation of the insane and mighty Discordance Axis. No One Knows What The Dead Think contains D.A. alumni Jon Chang on vocals and Rob Marton on guitar, and they are joined by Kyosuke Nakano on drums, and the band make no bones about this being the culmination of the original series of albums by Discordance Axis.
For those not familiar with Discordance Axis, they produced some of the most stunningly original Grindcore albums of the nineties. The sound was utterly unhinged, partially due to Chang’s vicious and wide-eyed vocal approach, but also because of Marton’s almost Godflesh-like riffs being paired with Dave Witte’s blasting drum work. And just like before, the vibe here is suitably Post-Human, a sort of logical conclusion to Cyberpunk, where Earth’s hellscape is primarily populated by swarms of of artificial intelligence.
No One Knows What The Dead Think might be just a bit more controlled, but also a bit more technical in execution than their predecessor. Songs like “Yorha” and “Autumn Flower” kick things off in the expected, paint-peeling manner, but by “Dagger Before Me”, we see the trio pull the tempo back just a bit to reinforce the mood. The combination of Marton’s open chords contrasted with the high-speed tempo of the drums have always given the music a floating, out-of-body feel, and the introduction of a slower riff here or there seems to work within this atmosphere as well.
Die-hard fans need not fear though. “Stars Hide Your Fires” is just one of many examples where the over-the-top, manic feel of the classic Discordance Axis material is matched. And so are “Cinder” and “Kaine” and pretty much all of this scorched-earth madness. They even rework the Discordance Axis song “Dominion”, and it fits in with the rest of these blasting masterpieces perfectly.
No One Knows What The Dead Think pick up perfectly from where Discordance Axis left off. It’s amazing how they are able to do so much with such minimal materials. They are a three-piece, with just drums, guitars, and vocals, and this release clocks in at just under 20 minutes. Yet they produce some of the most compelling Grindcore ever made.
Their use of lyrics and cover art presents a post-cyberpunk future, a cold dystopia where humanity is extinct, or nearly so, and rabid, insane A.I.’s are all that is left in a wasteland, fighting a war among themselves into the endless future. That astronaut on the album’s cover — well, things don’t look too promising for him, and I feel like he’s the last one of us left alive.
What other three-piece can convey such a mood with so little? I’m not sure, but I do know this is an absolutely essential release. GET IT NOW, your future A.I. overlords command it.