"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Dissension - "Of Time And Chronic Disease" (CD)

Dissension - "Of Time And Chronic Disease" CD cover image

"Of Time And Chronic Disease" track listing:

1. Thralls To The Crucified
2. Graceless Death
3. Blacksteel
4. Brutality
5. Set To Kill
6. Legacy
7. Dreamsong Of The Divine
8. Of Time And Chronic Disease
9. Dissention
10. Apotheosis

Reviewed by on September 10, 2013

"Creating a hybrid sound rather than sticking to one pure style, Dissension’s approach on its inaugural full-length is to keep the guitars more on the thrash end of things, while everything else is more along the lines of symphonic black or death metal."

Although this has been mentioned in several reviews in 2013, it bears repeating: while perhaps not as celebrated as the Scandinavian scene, Canada has been routinely pumping out high-quality metal bands of just about every sub-genre lately. These acts tend to remain firmly underground while still putting out great head banging material, and with debut “Of Time and Chronic Disease,” Dissension now joins their ranks.

Creating a hybrid of sounds rather than sticking to one pure style, Dissension’s approach on its inaugural full-length is to keep the guitars more on the thrash end of things, while everything else is more along the lines of symphonic black or death metal. There are some dazzling and acrobatic guitar solos, along with some power metal moments, but overall, the tracks tend to be of the dark and menacing variety. With the strong symphonic black metal atmosphere, much of the album will be pleasing to fans of the lesser known bands like Fairytale Abuse or Gothmog, or those that mix in thrash like Siebenburgen.

With all the genre tags that were just thrown out there, it should be clear there’s a lot going on with “Of Time and Chronic Disease,” but the music doesn’t really get lost or lose focus. The title track is an interesting experience that utilizes those old-school blast beats – the kind that never ended on certain black metal releases – but they are mixed with much more melodic-leaning music. “Legacy” is another one that mixes up styles, using an acoustic opening and aligning more strongly with power metal.

The sound quality is slightly rough around the edges, and there are times where the mix of symphonic and extreme elements would definitely benefit from a production overhaul. In some cases, it can actually work in the band’s favor though, like the atmospheric interlude “Dreamsong of the Divine,” as the fuzzy sound there brings to mind Hecate Enthroned and that whole era of earlier black metal.

Dissension’s hybrid approach is a nice change of pace from the norm, and there’s a whole lot of promise on these 10 tracks. It’s clear this is a band that could go places with the right label backing (or a successful crowd-funding campaign for a more professional studio sound), and there’s no reason these guys couldn’t be sharing a stage with the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, or Dimmu Borgir.

Highs: The thrashy symphonic black metal hybrid works surprisingly well.

Lows: The sound quality is rough, and some of the switches from upbeat power metal to dark black metal aren't executed perfectly.

Bottom line: The Canadian underground does it again, this time offering up a solid blend of black, thrash, and power metal styles.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)