In multiple past interviews, Dysrhythmia have stated that one of their primary influences when forming the band was seminal progressive death metal giants Gorguts. Perhaps it is a fitting tribute to their musical prowess that two-thirds of the trio are now members of that band’s revamped line-up. Still, Dysrhythmia have never really sounded much like Gorguts. Rather, they seem to offer a more metallic take on Don Caballero‘s brand of instrumental rock, mixed with the sci-fi metal of Voivod and the pure insanity of Ahleuchatistas. That is, until now.

The Veil of Control, Dysrhythmia‘s seventh studio album, and second for the Profound Lore label, is due out on September 23. Here, we find them exploring a more explicitly death metal-inspired sound, not drastically different from earlier work but still amounting to a noticeable evolution. From the album’s opening title track onward, listeners immediately find themselves swallowed by an ethereal blast beat, draped over in strange arpeggios from the guitar and bass. It sounds like a move Gorguts is certainly capable of, but has yet to make.

If the title track pushes death metal in new directions, the next piece, “Internal/Eternal,” continues in this vein, but also adds a dose of King Crimson to the mix, particularly via the repeating bass figures of Colin Marston (Krallice, Behold…The Arctopus). By the time the listener reaches “Black Memory” and “Selective Abstraction,” Dysrhythmia‘s inspirations have nearly transcended all genre tags, and one may only hope to hear such alien sounds as these permeating outward to other metal bands in their sphere of influence.

“Severed and Whole” is as close as we get to a mellow track, but not by much. The tones are just a bit lighter, and the dynamics are pushed to the forefront. Here, the material seems closest to the band’s earlier days, a nod to the atmosphere found on their 2003 Relapse Records album Pretest although with the added technical capabilities of the present.

Album closer “When Whens End” brings everything full circle, harkening back to the death metal feel of the title track while simultaneously accumulating all the dizzying material on display throughout the disc’s running time. Over the course of the track’s eight-and-a-half-minute length, they go from some of their heaviest material to some of their moodiest. The composition is utterly challenging, yet the trio pull it off with ease. Nothing here sounds forced.

Dysrhythmia has always been a group which has stood on its own, yet with Marston and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel‘s membership in Gorguts, it has become nearly impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other. But one would be remiss if not recognizing drummer Jeff Eber‘s performance as well. Not only is his performance as technically impressive as that of his cohorts, but he successfully creates the backbone the entire album relies on.

If Gorguts was a primary catalyst for Dysrhythmia‘s initial formation, then The Veil of Control makes a very persuasive argument that that influence now extends both ways. It’s not that Gorguts mastermind Luc Lemay needs the help, but this album explores such fascinating sonic territory the listener can’t help but wonder where all this is eventually leading. With neither band being exactly prolific in their release schedules, it’s hard to say when that question might be answered, but there are certainly going to be many underground art-metal freaks waiting to find out.

Todd Manning

Stream “Internal/Eternal” and “Severed and Whole”:

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