I’m not a medical expert, nor am I a linguistic aficionado, but if there was an appropriate metaphor to aptly describe two oxymoronic things then we need look no further. Tardive dyskinesia by definition refers to involuntary movements of extremities in the body and face, affecting the nervous system, normally caused by long-term psychiatric drug use. Well, in essence, by listening to the band of the same name, we somehow are able to move our faces and bodies in a way that could suggest such, but the drug itself is mind-melting prog metal.
It’s as if the Greek five-piece knew we would encounter such symptoms well enough in advance, especially when it comes to new release Harmonic Confusion. Tardive Dyskinesia, to put it bluntly, have crafted an aura that combines the raw-bone-yet-equally harmonious texture of Mastodon, the technicality of Meshuggah and the melody of The Ocean. Just by reading these names alone caused an involuntary lapse of my jaw – and by the opening riff of “Insertion” I am expecting more of this over the next 50 minutes.
Harmonic Confusion is Tardive Dyskinesia’s fifth album, courtesy of Playfalse Records, and in an ever expanding sub-universe that prog metal has enveloped itself in, TD have not only voyaged in out of the corners of our eyes but also shaken prog to its very epicentre and expanded from within. The realm that Harmonic Confusion takes us into is loaded with fury, and in a split second can be equally daunting from a melodious view.
It would be hard to pick a standout song from the album, as by choosing to listen to one without its co-residents we only get a half glimpse into the ethereal and visually enthralling journey. From the heavy sludge-laden “Fire Red Glass Heart” to the atmospheric “Thread of Life,” every note tells a vital tale in Harmonic Confusion. The guitars posing an intimidating presence, whereby the three-person approach adds an extra level of depth and truism to the autonomous technicality on display. It’s on songs like “Self Destructive Haze” that elements of traditional hard rock come through whilst still maintaining a polyrhythmic edge, and credit to drummer Nick Argiropoulos for superb attention to detail and for making me believe for a second that he was an octopus.
As Harmonic Confusion progresses, the quality is more noticeable, not even so much for the songs’ complicated structure and arrangements. By quality in this sense, I mean that the reliance seems to be placed on the inclusive theme, meaning that no song is the same and the listener can get entranced in the very hypnotic aura.
One can go on about how mundane new prog metal can be, but if you group Tardive Dyskinesia in that list of examples, you clearly have not listened to enough. Credit where credit is due, it may be at first glance difficult to gauge where they fit in the scale of a band who incorporates sludge, rock, heavy metal, doom, and tech. But for a band with so much to offer to the average listener, they should stand out, purely for how their overall sound flows much more eloquently as a whole. Metalheads everywhere will find something to like about Harmonic Confusion, whether they actively search or not.
2. Fire Red Glass Heart
3. The Electric Sun
4. Self Destructive Haze
5. Thread of Life
6. Concentric Waves
7. Triangulation Through Impasse
8. Saviour Complex
9. Echoes 213
Tardive Dyskinesia are:
Manthos Stergiou – Vocals/Guitar
Petros Nikiforakis – Guitar
Steve Lado – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Kornelius Kiriakidis – Bass
Nick Argiropoulos – Drums