An emotional state marked by anxiety, depression and restlessness.
If one were to look up the word “Dysphoria” in a dictionary, the above definition is what they would find. However, if one were to look up the word on say, Facebook, they would instead find an incredibly unique and promising young metal band, whose music certainly lives up to their namesake’s definition. Dark, spastic and heavy as a sick of bricks, Dysphoria’s first LP “To the Perfect Form of Modern Species” will knock you on your ass if you think you’ve heard everything to hear in heavy music. This four piece band plays what can best be described as 60% Brutal Deathcore and 40% Mathcore. That’s right, motherfucker. Mathcore.
Given that Brutal Deathcore has an emphasis on heavy, palm-muted chugging and mathcore relies on frantic finger-work and time-signature changes, you might be wondering how these two genres could mix without sounding like complete elephant shit. I found myself wondering the very same thing, but somehow these guys manage to pull it off. There is an incredible amount of talent to be found here from all parties. The guitars are a complex and ever-changing beast and the drums manage to bring it all together into one cohesive, massive sounding package. Overlaying the instrumental assault are some of the deepest growls that I have heard in quite sometime. Luckily though, Dysphoria’s vocals do not fall into the ever-popular “all lows, all the time” category as many Brutal Deathcore bands tend to do, instead utilizing ear-piercing highs and mid-ranged vocals that would make any avid mathcore fan swear they were back in the glory days of the 90′s and early 2000′s.
The album begins with it’s title track right out of the gate, and the first minute or so just absolutely pummels you with dissonant chugging that any death fan will be immediately familiar with. However, as the track progresses things start to become more spastic and the true nature of the band is revealed. A series of ill-sounding guitar scales begin to rise above the blackened foundation of chugging, and the timing begins to change at strange intervals. The vocalist shifts his pitch from basement level gutturals to raspy mid-ranged shrieks and suddenly the deathcore song you were listening to mere seconds ago has shifted it’s form entirely, resembling mathcore that sounds like it was ripped straight out of ’98. It’s a genre of music that I haven’t personally pursued or followed very closely for years, and it’s sudden resurgence in what initially appears to be just another talented deathcore band is quite refreshing.
The mathcore presence on this record is not only refreshing, it’s fucking heavy. The band doesn’t employ the genre as a gimmick, it’s a part of their identity. The song structures are spastic and quite difficult to follow or fully understand if you’re not listening closely. A vast majority of the time the songs are moving forward at a breakneck pace, and yet are entirely devoid of any easily discernible melody for less-experienced listeners to cling onto, and the effect is devastating. The ratio between death, core and math influence is very equally balanced and presented which keeps all ten cuts on the CD fresh, engaging and consistently interesting for those who can withstand the shear level of chaos.
It isn’t just about being heavy, though, and Dysphoria have a pretty good grasp on that. A majority of the tracks on the album stand out from one another due to each having their own additional layer of sound that gives each track it’s own personal spin on the bands awesome fusion of genres. There is some really catchy tremolo picking on “Ideological Prison” and “Stillbirth” that is just too dark and melodic to be ignored amidst a sea of such unutterable chaos. Other stand out moments include a brief, yet calming passage of intricate bass work on “Such a Beautiful Failure”, the full-on mathcore meltdown that is “Aftereffect” and the awesome down-tuned styled chugs and soaring leads found on “Genetic Origin of Sin” which is positively-reminiscent of recent releases such as Via, Divided By and Wormwood.
From start to finish, “To the Perfect Form of Modern Species” is absolutely relentless. The band’s talent is apparent at every turn but never seems shoved in your face, and the incredibly tight songwriting and professional production value ensure that this release will have a relevant place in your metal library for years to come. The best part about all of this is that this is only the beginning for this band, with the right amount of recognition that this release is sure to bring, Dysphoria could become a household name in underground metal.
To put it simply, if you like heavy shit, DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS.
For Fans of: Aegaeon, War From a Harlot’s Mouth, King Conquer, Ion Dissonance