noun | Medicine
abnormality in a physiological rhythm, especially in the activity of the brain or heart.
After a 4 year quiescence, Philadelphia’s transcendental trio Dysrhythmia are back with their 7th, and most strikingly lustrous, album to date. The band who feature Messrs Marston (of Colin fame) and Hufnagel (Gorguts, nee Kevin), have progressively delved deeper and deeper into the labyrinthine chasms of discordant quasi-metal during their near 20 year long career. Personally, I felt a little surprised to learn that they were drawing closer to that milestone, as while I have followed them down their recondite passage for around a decade or so, Dysrhythmia still feel fresh. Maybe this is a function of their ability to seemingly distort time itself with their music, or perhaps the quite singular and unique nature of their sound could be attributed to this sustained vitality. Does the Warr guitar hold the keys to the fountain of youth? Is Colin Marston a sorcerer? Maybe I’m just getting old? Whatever the case may be, the vigour can still be heard on the band’s new album, The Veil Of Control.
As I mentioned, during the band’s career they’ve carved quite a complex series of channels within the musical grounds below them, often twisting and contorting at irregular intervals. Anyone who has followed the many and varied projects of Kevin Hufnagel, and in particular, Colin Marston, knows that the two have provided quite a considerable array of metallic commodities, including some priceless gems. But unlike the tangible inorganics that most of the world clamour for, we, the listeners, all get to reap the musical benefits of their extensive mental mines. Each of their projects seemingly taps into a different vein of precious material. In terms of recent activity, one could say that Krallice serves as Marston’s primary medium; analogous to a mine’s main operation, producing an ever abundant stream of output from its seam of black coal. In 2009, the duo struck a vein of dense metallic ore in this mine, smelting down the product and combining it with that of Luc Lemay (Gorguts) to form a high tensile alloy which has now become an internationally used benchmark for contemporary metal. Although the duo are also involved in quite a few minor ventures outside those already mentioned, none have really captured a foothold in their respective niche markets. However, it would be remiss of me not to mention Marston’s solo foray into the highly experimental field of transitional metal, under the name of Indricothere. Where does Dysrhythmia fit into this entirely extraneous analogy? Well, up until The Veil Of Control I would have struggled to accurately attribute a geological parallel to the band’s spasmodic sound… not anymore.
The Veil Of Control is the band’s glistening gemstone. After years of relentlessly chipping away at dusty sub-surface long-walls, in the midst of the obsidian backdrop, the band have extracted a majestic mineral, and on the 23rd of September they will unveil it for all to see. From the very first moments, the album gleams a beautiful opalescent light. The instrument’s individual parts appear to bounce off each other, refracting and subsequently morphing the light within the crystalline structure. Throughout the album it becomes apparent that the band’s trademark dizzying elements are still intact, but the individual tracks shine a little more than before. The compositions feel somehow richer. While the individual parts are still incredibly intricate and challenging, the arrangements seem to be more organised. This crystalline structure in which the amorphous riffs sit and overlap is what allows each part to glisten momentarily before the next colour captures your attention. It is as if all the elements of the band’s sound that were previously associated merely by location have steadily merged into one over time, forming a conglomerate to behold.
The repeating tapped licks at the start of “Internal _ Eternal” seem to shift time within their very confines, providing an ever shifting substrate for the guitars to send out some surprisingly restrained melodic waves. For a great deal of the track the guitars and bass play a stronger role in terms of keeping the beat than the percussion. This all comes to a head as the song crescendos beautifully in the final stages, before fizzling out of existence like the smaller orb of a pair of binary stars. “Black Memory” flitters between punctuated yet grandiose-sounding arpeggiated chordal passages, and furious tremolo blasting. A somewhat atypical fury though, like what you’d associate with an exotic hummingbird vivaciously courting a particularly exquisite flower. Twitching at speeds beyond the eye’s discernible capability, yet maintaining a stationary position relative to the surroundings. The bass-heavy “Selective Abstraction” could integrate quite nicely on to essentially any previous Dysrythymia album, and will certainly please those seeking the metallic side of the band’s core sound. “Severed and Whole” sits at the reflective end of the sonic spectrum, a time to gather momentary composure before the torturous album closer “When Whens End” winds through its series of frenetic outbursts interspersed with quizzical passages and ominous staccato stabs.
Overall, The Veil Of Control feels grander in scope than the band’s most recent album Test Of Submission, though this is at the expense of some of the more instantly memorable riffy moments. In contrast to the way the band have previously jaunted around jettisoning riffs in an almost haphazard manner, this time around the trio appear to be expending their energy in a more deliberate fashion. After emitting heat for the longest time, the band’s songs now appear to have adopted an endothermic quality. Absorbing the light’s warmth, letting it ricochet around as it reflects across the complex series of interior walls, striking off in all manner of angles and exhibiting a deeper spectrum of prismatic colours. Each facet radiates a dynamic blend of allure The Veil Of Control is Dysrhythmia’s most polished work to date.