I’ll open this with a quotation from the press release for Dichotomy’s release, Paradigms. When discussing the roots of the Irish five piece, they quote them as being “influenced by bands such as Death, Necrophagist, Gojira and Opeth.” Now when your music is made up of those influences, you have to really try hard to be crap. Dichotomy haven’t tried hard enough it seems as this release is a slab of awesome.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this album are the track lengths. Only two of the eight songs break the five minute barrier, which is unexpected when bands like Opeth and Gojira are in your influences. No complaints though; a shorter song length avoids running the risk of over repetition and allows the listener to get it lodged in their brains so much faster. Oddly though, the songs feel much longer than they actually are, even Polarity, a fairly straight up death metal song feels like it has been running for an age rather than a mere three minutes and fifty-six seconds. This is a real testament to their song writing skills as most of the time when a song feels longer than it is, it is a wholly shit experience.
Speaking of song writing, the overall writing and musicianship is truly top notch. Granted, the raw sound many look for isn’t really there as it sort of dies when everything is this tight, but that doesn’t particularly matter! The sheer technical tightness (that sounds like a god awful 80s guitar instructional DVD) is exemplified within the stop/start section of No Catharsis; there was no room for sloppiness there and thankfully there wasn’t a drop to be found.
Musically you’re looking at technical death metal on paper, but you’re getting a good bit more on record. With a fairly wide inspiration base, the bands own sound is obviously pretty wide open. We get a range of different moods and emotions over the course of the album. The much mellower Alea Iacta Est is an example for you; despite a heavy section that, thanks to a metric ton of reverb on the lead guitar, sounds pretty “epic,” the track itself pulls back on the speed and aggression for a whole different feeling compared to the preceding heaviness. Unfortunately the nice gentle ending lulled me into a false sense of security (in my defence, it’s currently 7am!) and I promptly shat every sort of brick when the crushingly heavy final track Of Strife Of Discord blasted into existence.
I’ve brought up the influence thing a couple of times, but I really want to make it clear that Dichotomy are their own band carving their own sound. You won’t find yourself sitting going “that’s an Akerfeldt special” or “there’s a Schuldiner moment.” The band have recognised their influences and then completely fucked off on their own direction to form something unique and powerful. With this only being their debut album, we can expect something very special in the future.
Usually it’s pretty easy to go “if you’re a fan of so and so, you’ll like this album” but in this case it’s more, if you’re a fan of heavy music, you’ll like this album. It’s not often a new band comes along and nails it right off the bat so they deserve half an hour of your time.