posted on 3/2012 By:
I like to think that I’m pretty well in-touch with the music scene in my native Bay Area, having followed it closely for the better part of 14 years as both a radio personality and journalist. So I’m often surprised -- maybe even shocked -- when a band from these parts that is completely unfamiliar to me gets signed or otherwise makes a splash on a national level. (Giant Squid and the now defunct Watch Them Die come to mind.) With the release of their debut EP Creepmoon, you can add Oakland’s Dimesland to that list.
Formed in 2006, Dimesland features 3/4s of the band Wild Hunt (guitarist Drew Cook, drummer Harland Burkhart, and bassist/vocalist Greg Brace) as well as The Residents’ Nolan Cook on guitar. As you may construe (from the latter more than the former), this is a less-than-straightforward affair from a band that describes themselves as “abstract/hyper metal,” a fitting tag considering that their sound incorporates elements of thrash, progressive, sludge, and ambient while refusing to stay within the boundaries of any of them.
Everything starts out nicely with “Trophy Wives Under the Influence,” a volatile concoction of heaviness that includes rumbling bass and a controlled frenzy of guitar underlying a sharp yet understated vocal bark. “Architect” comes in at a less heavy angle, opting instead for a more schizophrenic mass of sound that actually reminds me of some of the less-destructive moments of Loincloth’s Iron Balls of Steel. It rolls forward and takes some unexpected turns, but somehow always comes back to run you over.
Just when you think you’ve picked up a pattern, “Revlev” comes along and leads the way for three wholly different yet oddly cohesive instrumentals. It starts off with a bit of woozy noise and quickly combines the finer points of the two opening tracks with discordant rhythms and a few jarring riff patterns. Then things get a little weird on “Degradation Suite,” a noisy, slightly discomforting interlude that is nothing like the rest of this EP. In fact, it would almost be more fitting for the soundtrack of a psychological horror/torture movie. Suddenly, things are back to business with “Ghastly Maneuvering,” which manages to combine the progressive chugging of “Revlev” with the ambient weirdness of “Degradation Suite” before heading into the album closer.
“Burnt Orange” brings things full circle (too soon, in my opinion) by revisiting the way the EP starts, with a renewed focus on angular riffs and machine-gun drumming flanked by the urgent vocal shout. But it’s really an abrupt end, one that had me double-checking the promo to make sure I hadn’t missed something. There's just something about the way Dimesland delivers this rollercoaster ride that makes Creepmoon feel too short. Then again, that's certainly favorable to releasing something that folks might wish would hurry up and stop. In the end, their approach is a collective that's as neurotic as it is psychotic, and that's something many of us in the metal world are encouraged by. If that sounds like you, maybe you should give Dimesland a try.
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