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Dysrhythmia - Barriers and Passages CD (album) cover

BARRIERS AND PASSAGES

Dysrhythmia

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.93 | 25 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Barriers And Passages' - Dysrhythmia (7/10)

When it comes to progressive metal, there is usually no shortage of talent and technical skill, but few bands manage to harness their abilities and make something fresh with it. All too often, I hear yet another Dream Theater clone, or band that's riding on the glory of Symphony X... you get the picture. Then, of course, there's a band like Dysrhythmia to make a twist on metal that is much less common; this is a band from Philadelphia that was brought to my attention by the membership of bassist Colin Marston, who has already impressed me with his work with Behold... The Arctopus and atmospheric black metal act Krallice. With this precedent for eclectic style and crazy antics, it could be difficult to expect something in particular from this band Dysrhythmia, besides that I knew this would be something a little left-of-centre. True enough, the band's fourth album 'Barriers And Passages' is an incredibly quirky piece of instrumental prog metal. While dissonance and sporadic playing isn't anything new to metal, there are few bands who make it sound as fun as Dysrhythmia.

The music on 'Barriers And Passages' is entirely instrumental, and only three instruments at that; the guitar, bass, and drums. For a power trio, Dysrhythmia is able to get quite alot of sound going on. In a way, this band reminds me greatly of what Voivod did, particularly on their 'Nothingface' record; higher register guitar riffs , strange chords, and a heavy bass presence to fill out the sound. The big difference here is that Dysrhythmia keeps up the technicality up a fair notch; the music never tries to be particularly heavy, but it is indeed challenging, and while I never felt that the album as a whole had some in-depth hidden meaning or message to it, it may take a couple of listens to start making sense of the sound here. Dysrhythmia has made little attempt here to create catchy melodies or things for novice listeners to grasp onto, although there is a nice hook on 'Seal-Breaker Void' that sticks with me. In a way, I would have liked to hear some more memorable licks and riffs here instead of the unrelenting dissonant quirk that runs throughout 'Barriers', but I wonder if the band would have managed to maintain the pace of the album if they had melody to focus on as well.

While I may be driven to label this as an 'avant-metal' release, there is alot of post-rock here. In other words, while the music focuses primarily on wowing the listener with dissonant bass grooves and atypical guitar work, there are more harmonious layers of atmosphere that create a greater sonic range. This works really nicely for the music, and helps the performance become less dry. I would have maybe liked a little more cohesion in the album- as it does feel a little thrown together and ends abruptly- and a little more variety in what Dysrhythmia does here would have been nice, even if the album is only a brief thirty five minutes long. In any case, 'Barriers And Passages' is a very good album for tech metal, and a sign to me that heavy metal still has a ways to go before every possible sound is exhausted.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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