Sunday, October 26, 2008

Decahedron - Disconnection Imminent

Decahedron - Disconnection Imminent

In the aftermath of Frodus, its members went on to a number of other projects. Nathan Burke, Frodus’ latest in a long line of bassists, went on to form The Out Circuit, where he still resides today. Shelby Cinca formed steampunk band The Cassettes, moving in a number of more experimental directions past even what was hinted with And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea, as well as playing briefly in the band Mancake, alongside Frodus drummer Jason Hamacher. But eventually, Cinca went back to his post-hardcore roots, again enlisting Hamacher on drums as well as former Fugazi bassist Joe Lally, and together they created Decahedron, a socially conscious outfit that lived by the mantra of “Delete False Culture”. Decahedron only released one album, Disconnection Imminent, but it signalled a spiritual return to the protest-punk of Frodus, as well as a musical progression that combined the angry, dissonant hardcore they were known for, with Cinca’s growing experimentation with ambience and electronics (a couple years afterward, Cinca would put out a solo album based entirely around this concept). The result was an original and unsettling album, which contrasted sci-fi bleakness with a very real and disconcerting look at modern society.

As mentioned above, the music feels like a noticeable progression from And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea-era Frodus; by which I mean you can make comparisons between Decahedron and Frodus easily (and I have), as the underlying form seems obviously influenced by Cinca and Hamacher’s former project, but there is also a natural evolution on display here. As such, Decahedron feels like a spiritual successor to Frodus, and not just in the phylogeny of the band itself. The angular raspiness of the guitar is more than familiar to the listener, and the way in which the smoothness of the bass plays off the guitar in intertwining fashions is again exhibited, but the way electronics have been integrated keeps any sense of derivativeness at bay. Interludes such as “Dislocation” showcase the way in which the band manages to insert abject dissonance into their tracks, and while this may become grating within the parameters of an instrumental song, it works well in giving an even greater sense of desolation to calm, brooding epics like “Every City is a Prison”. Indeed, feedback is used constantly throughout this album, as the ominous cries of what sounds like industrial machinery audibly rusting on the spot are injected and pumped into the backgrounds for mood. This works to varying degrees in terms of listenability, but what can’t be denied is how it communicates the isolation of the music in a very direct way.

As far as the vocals go, Cinca remains more austere than usual here, generally finding himself content to passively croon along to the despondent flow of the music, but he still has his moments to shine. The chorus of “Burning Lights” is a definite highlight here; after a very menacing passage leads to quiet, Cinca’s obstructed screams of “Drowning into yourself/turning against your will to live” manage to come off as fierce as ever. “Lt. Col. Questions Himself” provides another prominent example of Cinca’s ragged intensity, shouting his lines just as loudly as the music can drown them out. The way Cinca screams so wholeheartedly and forcefully has always been a highlight of Frodus for me, as he always conveys an emotional passion and intensity that can rarely be matched, making it something of a shame that he doesn’t do it more often here. The result is an album that is less focused on anger (despite the virulence of the lyrics), and more focused on detachment. A great example of this is in “No Carrier”; when Cinca screams about disconnection during the chorus, the message is transmitted with all the accuracy of a drive-thru order, cutting out and obscuring the words from full recognition.

All in all, Disconnection Imminent is a strongly atmospheric post-hardcore album that, while not quite matching the greatness of Frodus’ work before it, manages to impress. Experimental without being impenetrable, smooth while still keeping an edge to it, Disconnection Imminent remains a gem in the catalogue of three men with much bigger claims to fame.

DELETE: False_Culture


cretin said...

i only mentioned frodus 7 times.

admire my restraint.

gabbagabbahey said...

I was never into Frodus much, so I got into this band because of Joe Lally. so there.

cretin said...