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The Great Discord: Duende

Synapse-frying French troupe live up to their moniker

Duende is a bit like running a marathon having just dropped a tab. Just when you think you’ve got your head around the overwrought dynamic flexing of opening track The Aging Man there comes track after track of tempo-splicing and emotional mindfuckery that requires a constant state of readjustment.

The juddery staccato of L’Homme Mauvais is a tumultuous exercise in technicality counteracted by the woeful canter of Selfæta and Eigengrau’s moving Skyharbor-esque end section.

Duende could be a mess but TGD have cleverly matched Fia Tempe’s femme fatale vocals to a hotbed of twists and turns – not an easy feat. Her sultry treatment of some very dark topics including drug addiction, depression and psychopaths co-exists with a maelstrom of progressive metal imbibing Meshuggah, Opeth and even a touch of Nightwish and Ayreon.

In closing epic Ephemeral, introspective moments meet hulking great choruses, all done with great attention to sound, and if it’s a beast to get through, it’s worth the effort./o:p