Dysphorian Breed - The Rain of Ash - (8/10)
Published on December 1, 2014
Genre:Funeral Doom / Death
Dysphorian Breed formed earlier in 2014 by Swedish multi-instrumentalist David Fredriksson and released their debut album, The Longing for the Tides of Metamorphosis, in August. The debut featured three songs of dirge-like funeral doom/death metal steeped in the waters of depression and regret. Not content to sit on his laurels, Fredriksson brought the band’s sophomore effort, The Rain of Ash, to the light of day in November, a mere three months later.
While it’s immediately clear that Dysphorian Breed’s second album continues to tread the musical path set by the debut, it’s a more keyboard-driven endeavor than the bottom heavy approach of before. The music still marches slowly forward, surging with occasional crackles of twisted death metal, but with the strong focus on synth melodies the music sounds more uplifting, more personal. The Rain of Ash is loaded with hypnotic, melodic guitar leads, like on the opener “I Remember Things”, but the main focus is on airy keyboards and synthesized string patches relegating the crunchy riffing to the background. All four tracks are well over the ten minute mark, but with Fredriksson’s ability to twist the song structures, the album plays through without meandering off course.
It’s impressive that Dysphorian Breed was able to craft an album that sounds stylistically similar to its predecessor yet completely switches how the listener gets there. While The Longing for the Tides of Metamorphosis focused on crushing riffs and plodding paces to bring feelings of desolation, The Rain of Ash uses lush keyboards and melodic guitar work amid a groundwork of crawling percussion to usher a sense of serenity amidst the gloom. The album’s artwork, an infantile cherub clutching a skull, imbues the same sense of joy countered by dread.
Despite the deep, subterranean growls that serve as vocals and the heavy handed guitar riffs, The Rain of Ash remains true to the overlaying melodies that drive it forward. A large of part of that is owed to the airy production, which breathes life into the keys and melodic guitar leads, while forcing the percussion and guitars to take a backseat. The end result is an album that is full of grandiose wonder and fearful trepidation that isn’t as skullcrushingly heavy as the debut, but its emotionally charged approach is equally draining.