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Dysrhythmia - "Fractures" (CD)

Dysrhythmia - "Fractures" CD cover image

"Fractures" track listing:

1. Dysrhythmia - "Earthquake"
2. Rothko - "Tell The Story To The Winds"
3. Rothko - "Torch"

Reviewed by on October 7, 2008

"Like a lot of post-rock/drone/sludge acts in its parts, it's faultless. But as a whole, few are comparable to that of Burning Witch, Khanate or Earth"

With members of the drone act Byla at hand in Dysrhythmia it comes as not too much shock to see a split with bass-centric ambient/post-rock band Rothko. Here the bands have woven together an instrumental 3 track split consisting of Dysrhythmia 's 14 minute epic "Earthquake" and Rothko's comedown pair "Tell Your Story To The Winds" and "Torch."

Dysrhythmia has always cut it much closer to the hard rock side of technical music and "Fractures" is no exception. This is neither Byla nor Behold...the Arctopus but it aims to combine dissonant technicality with rock/drone mentality. Some may feel off-put by the grey-space of "technical rock" (just play metal and be done with it!) but fans of previous releases will know where they stand. Of no surprise is Marston's influence, which through his unique style brings noise walls, massive riffs and avant-garde shreds. Seven minutes in and we get a break from the noise and dissonance, being treated to some orthodox melody pleasantly void of the guitar wankery redolent in Dysrhythmia 's catalog. As if to bring life to the song's title, the track exits with an eerie ambient solitude, surveying the destruction that has been. Jeff Eber (who has guested for Spastic Ink) and his drum work are the standout of the whole split, particularly shining with the rumbling rapid fills at "Earthquake's" haunting end. In all, the complexity of a fourteen minute song like this is a feat in it's own existence... what bit comes next again? This is no Venom fist pumper, that's for sure, and whether or not its epic intentions succeed is a matter of taste that can't be reviewed.

The Rothko tracks are quite subdued and blank in comparison but a natural extension from Dysrhythmia’s "Earthquake." Contrary to the previous schizophrenic prog rock, Rothko provides two sturdy ambient songs who's tribal drum beats and reverb-drenched bass lines sound like some forgotten, lonesome Tool riff, or an orchestra of bass motives gentling conversing a tribute to drone idols Earth. By definition the tracks are empty and lonesome, the emotions spacey and but without the heaviness of a band like Sunn O))).

It's a tough decision in the grading of the "Fractures" split. Like a lot of post-rock/drone/sludge acts in its parts, it's faultless. But as a whole, few are comparable to that of Burning Witch, Khanate, or Earth, and even fewer manage to hurdle the bottomless pit of pretension and cross the lake of bromidic songwriting. While my cynical criticisms of the hidden simplicities of drone/rock are peaked by this split, "Fractures" will be a is a success for Dysrhythmia/Rothko fans, and a suitable introduction for those looking to dip their feet into the smoky waters of either band's approach to noise - but probably no more.

Highs: Post-rock meets tech-metal + post rock meets ambient = good combo

Lows: The feeling that both bands use drone/post-rock as a crutch to support their tracks

Bottom line: An interesting split from two interesting bands, not a must-have but a release fans should note

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)