Appearing at the end of 2014 as a digital-only, self-released title, DIMESLAND’s Psychogenic Atrophy was met with little fanfare, yet made an immediate and powerful impression upon those who heard it. Described by Invisible Oranges as a "sonic nightmare of thrash...that blends instrumental ability with the progressive stabs of Dimension Hatross-era Voivod..." and landing on numerous end-of-year best-of lists, Psychogenic Atrophy flattened just about everyone who encountered it.
With members of art rock legends The Residents' touring band and blackened prog-doom ensemble Wild Hunt amongst their ranks, DIMESLAND released the promising Creepmoon EP a couple of years prior on Vendlus, but even that only hinted at just how maniacal the band's sound was to become. The eight songs featured here combine dizzying musical complexity and fearsome dissonance with a sort of off-kilter thrash. The confounding and complicated arrangements and demented riffing recall the likes of Watchtower, Coroner and Atheist, but this is darker, weightier, more sinister stuff, the band hurtling through the jagged arrangements of songs like "Institutional Gears" and "Xenolith" with an almost No Wave-informed abrasiveness, but also frequently sprawling out into well-crafted sequences of abstract, unearthly ambience and forbidding, hallucinatory industrial noisescapes. Frantically barked vocals are employed judiciously, allowing the band to weave long stretches of instrumental mayhem. Violent, discordant riffs are folded around psychotic time signature changes, then suddenly expand into passages of moody, doom-laden darkness. Cyclical rhythms churn beneath waves of dense, alien sound, and spastic skronk-assaults suddenly swerve into vicious angular thrash. And these guys have some serious chops. Psychogenic Atrophy's brutality is sharpened by their technical precision and prowess and driven by utterly frenetic drumming. But it's also a heavily layered album, each listen revealing added details and degrees of delirium. Intense stuff for sure, with an unsettling, nightmarish atmosphere that makes this album stand out further amongst the progressive metal horde.There is a surreal, ever-present malevolence lurking under the surface of these songs.
An in-house favorite release of 2014, Crucial Blast was so blown away by this album that the label wanted to make it available as a physical release, reissuing Psychogenic Atrophy on CD in digipack packaging that features subtly unnerving cover art from Swiss photographer and performance artist Chantal Michel. Can't be recommended enough if you're a fan of avant-garde death metal and progressive thrash, as DIMESLAND have produced a work of challenging, terrifying extreme metal that stands amongst the more unconventional likes of Gorguts, Cynic, Confessor, and Voivod.