The Veil of Control is Dysrhythmia's first album in four long years. Not only have the instrumental power trio not released a record in four years, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston have become full-time members of Gorguts and are actively involved with other projects as well (Krallice, Encenathrakh, Sabbath Assembly, etc.). It's fair to wonder whether after all that time focused elsewhere, getting back together with drummer Jeff Eber would yield the magic earlier records did. Have no fear.
Recorded, engineered, and mixed by Marston, this tight, seven-track, 36-minute slab commences on stun with the title track. It's almost disorienting. It seems to begin in what sounds like a bridge. The tempo and dissonance are tinged with black fury, but one realizes a few seconds in that this strange opening is the riff. Hufnagel uses a 12-string electric guitar exclusively here; its overtones create layers of sound amid blastbeats and Marston's lead bass playing. It doesn't lack for dynamics, however, as tempo and key changes shift around the center, creating several different modal statements. "Black Memory" is sparse -- at least initially. All three bandmembers engage in spirited, knotty interplay, syncopating the hell out the track's main body, which again, only becomes evident a few minutes in. "Selective Abstraction" is bass-heavy, blackened jazz-metal and could easily have appeared on any of the trio's previous albums. Its tonal investigations refract around dissonant harmonic lines accented and pushed ever forward by Eber. His drums are another lead instrument, but he never loses his way. "Severed and Whole" might have been a continuation of the title cut, but possesses its own augmented changes. Several arpeggiated interludes are sourced across the composition's dominant notes. They each have a role before a breakdown introduces a galloping chug that towers above them all. Hufnagel engages in melodic interplay with himself as alternating octave layers and contrapuntal scalar studies interact with Marston's and Eber's polyrhythmic inventions. Closer "When Whens End" is a dizzying, hyperkinetic series of harmonic and rhythmic outbursts, interspersed with interrogatory staccato guitar and doomy, haunted bass and kickdrum statements.
Dysrhythmia's music was long considered outside acceptable range for most listeners; it was seemingly reserved for metalheads and tech music freaks. Given the genre-blurring achievements of John Zorn's Tzadik, Cuneiform Records, and other labels, as well as creative advances in progressive metal and electric jazz, this is no longer true. Dysrhythmia's particular brand of rock innovation is a more approachable frontier. The Veil of Control is a fine place to start. It contains everything that made them such a unique band in the first place. That said, it offers many new paths for longtime fans. Their only complaint may be that the record is too short. ~ Thom Jurek