Dissonance in Design

"Dionysiac" starts out as fairly straightforward technical death-metal fare, with frantically twisting passages of guitar seething around the rhythm. But with one vocalist erupting with gruff pronouncements and the other taking a higher, more black-metal pitch in distorted singing, these songs are doing more than just serving as a showcase for some guys who can play their instruments and take shots at the unsavory aspects of society. There's something thrillingly unsettling yet brutally beautiful about "Dreamstate," and the drastic shifts in its dynamics and pace are akin to Dario Argento jump cuts. "The American Reality" begins, appropriately enough, with one of George Carlin's more poetically incisive late-career comments on American culture, and from there it becomes a solid, no-frills, sometimes pretty and introspective progressive-metal instrumental without the death aspect.


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