9th September 2016 – Playfalse Records
02. Fire Red Glass Heart
03. The Electric Sun
04. Self Destructive Haze
05. Thread of Life
06. Concentric Waves
07. Triangulation Through Impasse
08. Savior Complex
09. Echoes 213
Hailing from Athens, Greek five-piece Tardive Dyskinesia released their debut album all the way back in 2006, three years after forming. Sporadic releases in the meantime have allowed them to established their sound, and 2016 sees the release of their fourth full length Harmonic Confusion.
The inspiring album art recalls King Crimson‘s In the Court of the Crimson King - however the similarity ends there. Harmonic Confusion does little to evoke Robert Fripp’s weird janky fretwork, instead lying somewhere between the realms of modern progressive metal and metalcore – but unfortunately fairly generic sounding at that. “Saviour Complex” is probably the closest this album comes to fulfilling the comparison, with a weird sax solo in between cool lead melodies, but the faux-prog riffs sound more suited to a southern stoner metal album than to progressive metal, and there’s no real hint of the experimentation for which King Crimson are famous.
“Triangulations Through Impasse” and “Echoes 213” are, despite the climax of the latter having a really nice uplifting feel to it – almost Pink Floydian in tone – fairly unexciting, but it’s worth noting most that these songs would fare better if the production and mix didn’t feel like such a slog, and this is a major factor in dragging the album down. It feels entirely bland, like gray oatmeal; somehow highlighting nothing. The way the guitar tone uses less gain than normal is great, but the frequency range lacks excitement. The drums are in the same boat, and even the vocals seem content to just sit in the mix without popping. It’s most surprising given that Harmonic Confusion was mastered by Jens Bogren, who really should be doing a more interesting job than this.
The musicianship itself is fairly competent; there are some pretty cool guitar tapping flairs that are quite impressive, and the drum parts are really quite good, adding some fairly fun fills at certain junctures. The vocals – and particularly the clean-sung lines – are lacklustre however, with a limited range, while the growls, feel like they’re missing some sort of driving emotional aspect.
Harmonic Confusion is a prog album, but not a progressive album. Most of the ideas here feel as though they’ve been done before by much better bands. It ends up coming across as a poor man’s Textures mixed with awkward tone shifts and marred by production. A couple of the songs have cool ideas, especially when the band decides to do more lead guitar stuff, that are brought down by less interesting ones and weak-sounding production. Harmonic Confusion ends up being a fairly average album at best, likely best left for fans of the band and die-hard progressive metalcore lovers.