Psychic Maps

Written by: PP on 30/08/2009 22:41:06

Instrumental rock and metal bands usually have one common element together: a ridiculously good ability to construct brilliant and detailed landscapes in your mind through the usage of guitars, bass and drums only. But the means to that end vary greatly, with some acts opting for a delicate, post-rock approach, some relying on slowly built subtle melody (Pelican), and others on brute force to deliver their normally astonishing message. Dysrhythmia have always been located in the heavier end of the instrumental spectrum, best demonstrated by their previous album "Barriers And Passages" which at first felt like free-form jazz or telepathic jamming rather than the metallic piece of art that album actually is. Now, I never really got into these guys as much as to Pelican or Don Caballero for instance, and their newest album "Psychic Maps" does little to change that. In fact, it does quite the opposite, as we shall soon see.

Although the heavy riff barrages made finding the beautiful melodies difficult on "Barriers And Passages", enough repeat listens opened the album at least somewhat to the attentive listener. But after listening to "Psychic Maps" for quite some time, that task now seems infinitely easier as stating that the band were heavy before doesn't sound like a valid statement any longer. Gone are the lush soundscapes and rich melodies, now replaced by hyperactive bass and incredibly bleak and crushing instrumentation. This is perfectly demonstrated in the album opener "Festival Of Popular Delusions", which sounds like a cacophony of incompatible layers of sound meshed together through the usage of progressive instrumentation and roughly textured guitars. It's as if the band threw away all their best melodies and focused on writing songs that effectively give the impression that their guitars are in the need of some serious tuning. Consequently, the record is a considerably darker affair than its predecessor, if not the complete opposite of that record, because even after 10 active listening sessions I'm having difficulties finding the beautiful melodies that occasionally raised their hand on the debut.

If we were to judge the album simply for technical matters, then you could say that Dysrhythmia have become even more complicated instrumentally than before. But the problem is that in the midst of discovering all those oh-so-cool off-tune riff sequences, the band seems to have forgotten how to string these together into good songs. "Psychic Maps" is therefore like one of those bodybuilders you see on TV: it's flexing it's huge muscles thinking that all women will now surely fall for him, while forgetting that most people seek something more than just the appearances, such as brains, for instance.


Download: Triangular Stare, Room Of Vertigo
For the fans of: Behold... The Arctopus, Scale The Summit, Don Caballero
Listen: Myspace

Release date 24.07.2009

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