Friday, May 8, 2015

Dysrhythmia -- Creepy Crawl, April 5, 2005

On first listen to Dysrhythmia’s Relapse Records debut Pretest, you can’t help but wonder, “How did this band, playing this style of music, land on arguably the best metal label in the country?” Although Relapse has devoted a branch of their label to all things experimental, DR’s complicated, angular licks are of the type you’d normally find on a label in the Southern Records umbrella.

So as the night opened with three heavy-as-all-get-out openers, I had some concerns about how DR’s set would go over on what was essentially a metal night. Would DR get heckled or would they get a receptive audience?

Technically, DR’s setup was mighty impressive—not surprising, considering the scope of rhythms and melodies in their music. Bassist Colin Marston had numerous pedals to go with his six-string bass. Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel’s effects were comprised of one keyboard-sized gizmo with two pedals and nine effect settings. Overall, it didn’t match the 40-plus pedals that Kinski lugs around, but it was nifty nonetheless.

The grand hypothetical “Why Relapse?” was answered as soon as DR broke into their first number, played so fast and so hard that I couldn’t even recognize the tune. It was when I discovered that this was a song I was normally very familiar with—“Annihilator I” from Pretest—that I finally understood why Relapse had signed this band. It simply took a live setting to get the message across.

Seven more numbers followed that were harder and heavier then anything on Pretest. At some point during the show, Marston somehow sliced his right hand and blood started flowing. It wasn’t long before the stage was covered with bloody bass picks and used tissues. The smell wafted into the crowd and a pack of wolves wearing Slayer shirts descended upon Marston. It was a horrible sight, as they tore him apart limb by limb.

Okay, so none of that wolves stuff was true. But Marston did cut his hand and some blood did run—resulting in several of his bass picks—or “collectors’ items,” as he put it—being swapped out during the set. As for the crowd, they were into it. No catcalls from the peanut gallery. Dysrhythmia was mighty tight and together. All was right with the world.

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