Release: 20 November 2015
Crucial Blast have confirmed the upcoming CD release of “Psychogenic Atrophy”, the debut full-length release by Oakland’s avant-garde thrash metal band, Dimesland. First appearing at the end of 2014 as a digital-only, self-released title the album was met with little fanfare, yet made an immediate and powerful impression upon those who heard it.
With members of art rock legends The Residents’ touring band and blackened prog-doom ensemble Wild Hunt amongst their ranks, Dimesland released the promising “Creepmoon” EP a couple of years prior on Vendlus, but even that only hinted at just how intense the band’s sound was to eventually become.
The eight songs featured on this album combine dizzying musical complexity and fearsome dissonance with a sort of off-kilter jazz thrash.
The extremely complicated arrangements and demented riffing recall the likes of Watchtower, Coroner and Atheist, but this is darker, weightier, more sinister stuff, the band hurtling through the jagged arrangements of songs like “Institutional Gears” and “Xenolith” with an almost No Wave/Free Jazz aesthetic, but also frequently changing into well-crafted sequences of abstract, ambience and industrial noise. Frantically barked vocals are employed sparingly, allowing the band to weave long instrumental packages . Violent, discordant riffs are folded around wacky time signatures and sudden changes expand into passages of moody, doom-metal.
This is a band with serious chops but the playing is measured and controlled not allowing for the sort of excess some progressive metal outfits are prone to. It’s a heavily layered album, each listen revealing added details, with an unsettling undercurrent that making it stand out in an overcrowded, excessive and sometimes predictable progressive metal community.
An in-house favourite release of 2014, Crucial Blast were so blown away by this album that the label wanted to make it available as a physical release, reissuing Psychogenic Atrophy on CD in digipack packaging that features subtly unnerving cover art from Swiss photographer and performance artist Chantal Michel.
If you’re a fan of avant-garde death metal and progressive thrash you should listen, this can certainly be labelled as unconventional and compared with the likes of Gorguts, Cynic, Confessor, and Voivod.
Unfortunately, shortly after the initial digital release of Psychogenic Atrophy and as the band was preparing to tour with the new album, guitarist Drew Cook tragically passed away. While this leaves the future of the band uncertain for the time being, the remaining members — Drew’s brother, guitarist Nolan Cook, drummer Harland Burkhart, and bassist/vocalist Greg Brace — continue to honour his memory with the release of this physical version of Psychogenic Atrophy.
The album will be featured on Sonic Attack Podcast 131.