Perfect Collection: Original Sound Version 1992-1995
In addition to grasping for grindcore perfection with The Inalienable Dreamless, Discordance Axis also set the bar for fan service with the early efforts compilation Perfect Collection: Original Sound Version 1992-1995. Originally compiled by Devour Records and reissued by Hydra Head the compilation collects first album Ulterior as well as many of their early splits with innovators Hellchild and Capitalist Casualties. The overstuffed 69 track effort even clocks out with the band’s earliest rehearsal recordings, which are probably only of interest to the most die hard of DxAx obsessives (I'm betting the circles would practically overlap in a Venn diagram of "Discordance Axis fans" and "Discordance Axis obsessives"). If Original Sound Version included nothing more than meditative instrumental curveball “My Neighbor Totoro” and guitar scraping screamer “Ruin Trajectory” that would be enough to cement this collection as a mandatory buy. But so much more thought went into every facet of the reissue.
Given the DVD packaging treatment that would become Discordance Axis’ hallmark with The Inalienable Dreamless, the package shines because of the care singer Jon Chang put into his exhaustive liner notes. Where too many bands are content just to dress up discography packages with some rarity photos and maybe a few old show fliers, Chang illuminates each song, offering some unique insight either into its themes, genesis or performance that illustrates the care Discordance Axis put into their craft (something he would add to the reissued Jouhou as well). His self-flagellating assessment of his earliest lyrical efforts is often hilarious and humbling. It’s impressive to watch the continual critical evaluation of the band’s work that propelled them far past their peers. With Jouhou, the discography also includes Chang’s two-part biography of the band, one of the few authoritative sources of information on Discordance Axis, a band that never got their due in their day.
If you had a gun to your head and could only choose on Discordance Axis album, of course you’re going to pick The Inalienable Dreamless. However, anyone interested in the band’s progression or the baby steps of 21st Century grindcore should also boast Original Sound Version and Jouhou in their collection as well. This is exactly what a well conceived discography should be. It serves as the perfect entry point for new fans but includes enough details and rarities that even long time acolytes will have plenty of surprises in store.