Discordance Axis - Our Last Day (Cover Artwork)

Discordance Axis

Our Last Day (2005)

Hydra Head

This release seems only fitting after the other reissues, unfortunately, this final "closing of the books" on Discordance Axis' impressive career cannot stand up to their own full-lengths. Then again, that is a nearly impossible feat considering how important and landmark those releases were. Our Last Day is basically a tribute album of sorts with DA tracks played by bands that were heavily influenced by them, including Cide Projekt, Gate, Mortalized, Melt Banana, and Noiseear. Also included is the full collaboration with Merzbow surrounding The Inalienable Dreamless. All in all, this final goodbye to one of the most influential grind bands ever is a solid one, but still must be seen only in this light, as it simply cannot match the ferocity or importance of their past releases. Also, because different bands are covering a variety of songs, there are a number of elements that differentiate each section; however, all in all, none of them clash, so the flow is kept intact.

This album opens with the last two unreleased DA songs: "Sega Bass Fishing" and "Ikaruga." Both are excellent songs, featuring unrelenting drumming and possessed screaming that have become trademarks, but even so, this only accounts for under 2 minutes of music. Suffice to say, this is not a good place for the uninitiated to start their appreciation for Discordance Axis; for fans, though, it is a fitting tribute.

The first batch of covers is from Cide Projekt, which is best described as a vocal-less Nintendo project. All the tracks are arranged to have that classic Nintendo music feel to them, which actually works surprisingly well here, but the lack of vocals definitely hurt the songs. The 2D synth effects seem to mix well with the frantic drumming, but the songs never achieve the amount of true power or aggression of the originals without the vocals. Because of this, the ten songs covered by Cide Projekt won't withstand the test of time for some listeners; others, however, may not mind the old-school effects and lack of vocals. This section does seem to lead to mounting anticipation for the next section, which can finally fulfill more elements of the sound. The final cover in this section is of "Macro," which is lengthened to nearly 5 minutes, and is perhaps the greatest success of the section. The setup allows the song to be uptempo and constantly changing, but gives it moments of catchiness, before switching to another element. After this batch are two covers by Gate, of "Radiant Arkham" and "The Inalienable Dreamless." Gate rely on the lower growls in their songs, while the music is done quite well, maintaining a muddy feel in the production.

Mortalized take the reigns for the next three songs, and they do an excellent job at recreating the intensity of DA. The vocals are a mixture of low growls alongside the high, incomprehensible shrieks. These three covers are some of the better on the album, and prove to be excellent at increasing the energy even further. Melt Banana is next, but they offer only one song, "Ulterior." It is, unsurprisingly, a good cover, but at only a minute in length, it's hardly enough material from the most important band on this tribute besides Merzbow and DA themselves. Noiseear and Gridlink offer one song each, both of which are competent, but nothing noteworthy.

Merzbow did a remix of the entire The Inalienable Dreamless album, and that appears in its entirety in this album. The track, at sixteen-and-a-half minutes long, is easily the most important and interesting of the bunch, but the remix has always been available for free on Discordance Axis' own website. The track moves back and forth between chopped portions of the album intertwined with passages of classic Merzbow-styled noise and interference. The dissonance works well over the chaotic album, and the two are mixed skillfully together to make an entirely new experience. The often disjointed and repetitive chopped pieces from the album serve as a good backdrop over which Merzbow adds oftentimes random and crushing passages of noise. It is an impressive remix and easily the most important song on this album. For those who want an official, hard copy of it, this album offers a possibility, but since it is available for free, that in itself may not be sufficient for most listeners.
oftentimes Discordance Axis was one of the most important grind bands to ever exist. They justified a genre that was failing miserably at times and was often considered laughable. Their reissued full-lengths still stand as some of the most intense grind releases and must-owns for anyone into the genre. Our Last Day is a fitting goodbye album, but is not a good starting point for those interested in the band. For fans, however, it is an appropriate way to pay tribute to such a good band by many of those artists which they influenced.