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Monday, April 4, 2016

Dystrophy (US) - Wretched Host

Artist: Dystrophy (US)
Release Title: Wretched Host
Year: 2015
Label: Selfmadegod Records
Genre: Technical Death Metal
1. Apex
2. Singularity
3. Within the Mind
4. Exoparasite
5. Wretched Host
6. Demise
7. Anhedonia
8. Nadir

The second full-length from New Jersey tech/death metallers Dystrophy offers pretty much standard-issue fare in the genre and manages to come off without any level of enthusiasm that’s quite unappealing. Structurally this is based around heavy-handed rhythms offering a perfect base for a series of twisted, complex rhythms with challenging patterns on display, all wrapped together with a progressive twist as the swirling rhythms make for some truly obscure arrangements at times. Given plenty of thump with the pounding drumming following the twisting arrangements gives this another strong progressive edge and truly makes the whole affair sound even more challenging and complex, even with this one generating a fair amount of thumping up-tempo efforts to come along that raise the energy level up significantly. This is all well-handled, yet there’s the underlying sense that despite all this there’s a decidedly lack of energy from the whole affair here as this one tends to merely plod along without really driving up the speed-driven rhythms. It can barely get itself up enough to really generate the kind of infectious energy that it can deliver with gusto during these faster, more frantic moments which makes the slower arrangements seem to stick out all the more. They really come more lifeless than expected, even with all the precise complex rhythm work accomplished which tends to lower this one somewhat more than expected.

The first half here sets up what this one is mostly about. Opener ‘Apex’ begins with howling winds and light sampled work turns into churning riff-work with swarming bass-lines and complex rhythms alongside the blasting drumming in a chugging mid-tempo pace offering up plenty of tight technical riffing and scorching melodic runs throughout into the extended, epic final half for a fine if slightly plodding effort. ‘Singularity’ blazes through charging patterns with complex rhythms and tight blasting with far more energetic paces through the series of technically-challenging swarming sections that drop the tempo down to sprawling patterns leading into the solo section and picking up the tempo again for the finale for a disappointing if still enjoyable track. ‘Within the Mind’ opens with churning riff-work and blasting drumming that settles nicely into a mid-tempo swarm offering plenty of challenging, discordant patterns with a strong series of swarming rhythms keeping the patterns nicely mid-tempo as the series of swarming rhythms drops into sprawling patterns for the solo section in the final half for a decidedly bland and lifeless track. ‘Exoparasite’ takes a sprawling series of rhythms along with the churning drumming taking the sprawling paces along throughout the rather tepid rhythms bubbling with sluggish riffing keeping the tempo down until it explodes out through the tight rhythms of the finale for a slightly more enjoyable if still sluggish effort.

The second half here is a decidedly more enjoyable effort overall. The title track features rolling drum-work and blistering rhythm with tight charging rhythms holding the swirling, complex riff-work throughout the sprawling mid-section keeping the energy in check to blister through the charging final half for one of the album’s best efforts. ‘Demise’ takes churning riff-work with heavy rhythms chugging along to a series of sprawling riff-work with the complex, challenging rhythms continually weaving throughout the change into up-tempo spurts offering the chance for rather dynamic riffing along the sluggish finale for another rather enjoyable effort. ‘Anhedonia’ uses discordant riffing and challenging patterns along the sprawling sections early in the first half as there’s a strong churning riff-work throughout taking the angular, sluggish rhythms along throughout the series of sprawling chugging patterns into the final half for a good if sluggish offering. Lastly, the monumental epic closer ‘Nadir’ takes churning riff-work and pounding, plodding drum-work with a swarm of razor-wire riffing keeping the challenging, complex riffing that swarms through the ravenous up-tempo sections leading into the extended sprawling atmospheric sections loaded with sluggish rhythms into the dynamic solo section and carrying the sprawling rhythms along through the extended finale to end this on a positive note.

This is a case where the fact that the music itself is well-handled and initially enjoyable yet in spite of that tends to come off as less enjoyable than it really should be due to the sluggish tempos they’re all played at which causes this to feel much longer than it really is and leaving this one more for true die-hard progressive/technical death metal fans or devout followers of this particular style.

Score: 75/100

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