Discordance Axis – “The Inalienable Dreamless”


The making of Discordance Axis’ “The Inalienable Dreamless”

released: August 2000

label: Hydra Head


Dateline: Summer 2000. My former band has just finished our 30-minute spot on the rickety stage at New York City’s CBGB as one of eight opening acts for what is supposed to be grindcore experimentalists Discordance Axis’ last show. Never you mind that this particular nine-band extravaganza didn’t actually end up being the trio’s official nail in the coffin—a Japanese tour and a second “final show” on U.S. soil followed months later—because I’ve just finished convulsively slinging six-strings and treading the same boards as many of my musical heroes past, present and (in a few short hours) to come. Never you mind that few cared or noticed. Dude, I even made it a point to make ceremonial use of the sticker-strewn hole in the wall they passed off as a bathroom just to say I did, and was able to emerge without scabies or flesh-eating disease.

As I’m hanging out in front of CB’s in the surprisingly safe and clean surroundings of the Giuliani-ized Lower East Side, I’m approached by a younger, but no less bearded, Juan Perez [then, Hydra Head Records’ promo and publicity king], who flips open his messenger bag and starts handing my bandmates cloud-and-sky adorned DVD boxes. Being a supercilious Luddite who takes forever-and-a-day to embrace technological advancements and industry-mandated format changes, I asked Perez, with an air of proud hostility, “What the hell is this? You know very well I’m still a VHS man.” He responded, with a shit-eating grin, “Um, the band you’re opening for—it’s their new album.” Almost immediately, DVD boxes are cracked open with mouths similarly following in response to the absolutely gorgeous photography, typography, imagery, layout and design of Discordance Axis’s final full-length, The Inalienable Dreamless.

After the show, my band and I retired to the road, and once all the gawking and gushing about the album’s packaging had died down, the CD was inserted into the stereo and we were assaulted by 17 genre-defining tracks propelled by guitarist Rob Marton’s explosive, technical, dissonant skronk ‘n’ slash, drummer Dave Witte’s mathematical, blast-beating cannon fire and Jon Chang’s capricious and spasmodic voice-box slaughter. The album runs somewhere in the neighborhood of 23 minutes, and considering it’s about a nine-hour drive from downtown New York City to downtown Toronto, by my conservative estimate, The Inalienable Dreamless was played a minimum of 20 times on the trip home. And when it wasn’t shaking our van’s innards, it was being discussed in reverential terms—even by our bass player, who wasn’t feeling the (ahem…) alienation of DA being a bass-less outfit. Now, in keeping with our grind-centric issue, comes Decibel’s turn to reverentially discuss and pay homage to the most forward-thinking grindcore album of all time.

—Kevin Stewart-Panko

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