Tech-Death Tuesday: DYSMORPHIC Returns With Their Aptly Titled New Album, An Illusive Progress
Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual reminder that if you're looking for more sick music, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
While it wasn’t their first release as a band, French natives Dysmorphic got on a lot of people’s radar with their promising 2013 debut album, A Notion of Causality. The band had an interesting take on technical brutal death metal with that release which really stuck out from the pack. While it took them a few years to get a second album out, the time is almost here for An Illusive Progress to be released this Friday, November 23rd through Unique Leader Records.
First off, the five-year wait between albums was worth it, as this new album is easily light years beyond A Notion of Causality which was already an interesting and often unique slab of frenzied tech-death in and of itself. On An Illusive Progress, the band still plays a form of technical brutal death metal, but the scales are tipped more towards the progressive death metal and non-brutal technical death metal parts of their sound into the forefront now opposed to brutality driving the engine forward like last time. The end result is quite impressive and really builds upon the groups potential in 2013 in a way I wouldn’t have expected when it comes to dropping a fair bit of the brutality in favor of ever more shredding and complex instrumentation on this new one. Still, that ethos lives on in the rampaging high-octane nature of their songs, nestled into every bit of their labyrinth-like dense compositions that make up An Illusive Progress.
While A Notion of Causality has aged well, something I wanted to be sure of through giving it some fresh spins when reviewing the new one, I was reminded when jamming it now that it has a few weaker songs that I now know some of were older songs of a more uneven nature or more straightforward in approach. Given the chance to release something with entirely all new material, An Illusive Progress benefits from more consistency from song to song, though variety is the name of the game here as it was last time.
As for what the album sounds like, An Illusive Progress blends Deeds Of Flesh and Suffocation style brutality with a fuckton of influence from Gorod, some Cosmogenesis-era Obscura flourishes, alongside their established prog-death influence from mid-later period Death woven in pretty much everywhere. In many ways, the merger between brutality and prog-death calls to mind fellow Frenchmen Kronos and Exocrine in spots as well so fans of those groups would be wise to check this out. The influx of fresh influence from Gorod this go around is pretty new for the band and I’d say that’s a big reason why this release feels like a step forwards and an evolution in their sound.
Dysmorphic’s greatest strength is not in sonic uniqueness but in their incredibly dense yet never convoluted nor generic style of songwriting. This is where Dysmorphic shines the most, and what keeps me and many others coming back to their music as there is an absurd amount to unpack on every song here besides the short intro track and a short interlude instrumental on track five. Doing all that while clocking in at just 42 minutes in total also means this doesn’t overstay it’s welcome nor gets bogged down by too much filler material.
Another new factor in Dysmorphic’s music on An Illusive Progress not found on prior works is the presence of very audible bass playing throughout the album. At times it somehow feels a bit too dominating over the other instruments, but it’s another factor that gives this release identity so I can overlook those places it overwhelms things. You couldn’t really hear the bass that well for much of A Notion Of Causality, but it didn’t feel lacking with the more brutal focus there outside of some spots here and there where it got to shine. With the more solidly prog-death focus this time, going with audible and prominent bass is a big plus for the music on An Illusive Progress.
As ambitious a release as A Notion of Causality was, An Illusive Progress ups the ante big time, this is a release you’re going to want to nab, trust me on that. Brutal death heavy tech death with a defined prog death focus is not the most common thing around, and Dysmorphic have proven once again they’re one of the best groups combining the best of both worlds into something special. While only “The Diving Mask” embedded below is available for the public right now, I’d stay tuned to the Unique Leader FB page and the Dysmorphic Facebook Page for an early stream in the next few days since the album drops this Friday. You can pre-order Dysmorphic – An Illusive Progress in physical formats here and in digital formats through the label Bandcamp Page.