Anyone out there who’s ever had a panic attack knows they are no fun at all. I mean, at all. Times I’ve had them, my body goes weak, my arms get heavy, breathing accelerates, certainty of imminent death is the only thing on my mind, and the idea of calming down and taking deep breaths is the last thing on my list of things I’m able to do capably.
Saying that Dimesland’s music always makes me feel like I’m in the midst of a panic attack might make it sound like a negative, but really, it isn’t. That’s because I’m not actually in one, and I feel just fine. Yet it makes my mind race and insanity take over, but usually instead of curling into the fetal position, I start whipping around and getting shit done. So it’s a positive panic attack you could say. That’s the best way I can think to describe the band’s manic, all-over-the-fucking-map debut LP “Psychogenic Atrophy.” Deciding where on the metal sub-genre scale the band falls is near impossible. Noise? Prog? Math metal? Death? Doom? Uh, try all of those, with no one element ever taking over another. It’s perplexing stuff, this great first full document (their 2012 EP “Creepmoon” only hinted as the craziness ahead), and there’s no way you’ll have the same experience with this music twice.
Dimesland are comprised primarily of members of the awesome Wild Hunt (their 2012 smasher “Beyond the Plane of Angles” is a revelation), that being guitarist Drew Cook, bassist Greg Brace, and drummer Harland Burkhart. Along with them is guitarist Nolan Cook, and together they pump out a musically dynamic, sonically perplexing, often manic, always sweltering collection of eight songs. Truth be told, these guys may annoy some people with their sound, because its harshness isn’t always easy to take. For me, I revel in it, rolling around like I’m trying to cover myself in mud and pine needles, hellbent on scaring the hell of the neighbors or any scared child on the block. It’s OK. I’m moving soon.
Bizarre noises and trickling sounds introduce you to opener “Are They Cannibals,” a question you might direct right back at the band once you get your first dose. Yowled vocals and tricky, sprawling playing highlight this thing, with cries of, “Unhinged violence!” practically standing as the song’s calling card. “Dying Foretold” combines deranged yelling, music that feels like it bubbled out of an unauthorized science lab, and dizzying thrashing into a blast that is thrashy and mangling. “Institutional Gears” blows open with a rumbling bassline, lead guitar work that burns the brows from your face (literally … I have no more eyebrows now), and metallic strikes over top that remind me of a crazed person trying to stab blindly over a wall. And hitting the target every time. The final moments have chunky crunching and what sounds like a freight train trying to navigate under water. “Xenolith” is the longest track of the group at 8:43, and guitars rip this thing apart before everything freezes over and puts you in a trance. Then things gets weirder. A roiling tempo rises up, as mechanical voices convey unintelligible information before the band blows up the scene again and ends the thing in a cloud of smoke.
“That Cold Moment” is furious and nasty from the start, with howled vocals, guitars cutting through everything like a sword, and eventually fluid melodies that serve to bring the temperature down. The guitars get exploratory and spacey, while the bass and drums meld together to reach out and spread something that would make Rush proud. “Malfunctioning Gears” charges and trudges, with blurry oddness eventually making its presence known and making everything feel kind of drunken. No complaints there. Growls blow in, the pace gets deadlier, and an eerie calm steps in and pulls the song to its finish. “Bound in Store” is a monster, splattering blood everywhere, letting the music barrel out of control and toward any poor bastard in its path, with the final seconds simmering and blowing steam into closer “Odd Feats Are Bid and Won.” This one has a proggy, intriguing start before the bottom drops out and devastation returns. It’s a strange little journey, with angry bursts striking here and there, guitars later warming up and spilling over the track, harsh shouts emerging to poke a few final fingers in your eyes, and the song naturally ending as strangely as possible.
You might want to wear a helmet, tape your fists, hide breakables, and warn loved ones if you plan to take an extended trip with Dimesland. “Psychogenic Atrophy” can be as dangerous as it is musically stimulating, a collection that might make you turn into a whirling dervish of energy, looking for any task to complete while on this artistic high. Or maybe there’s just something wrong with my brain that it makes me feel this way. Either way, be prepared. These guys are out to challenge, and even hurt, your puny little brain.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.dimesland.com/
To buy the album, go here: https://dimesland.bandcamp.com/