Dysrhythmia – Terminal Threshold

5 out of 5

Label: Translation Loss Records

Produced by: Colin Marston

Ah, Dysrhythmia – there you are.  I mean, sure, they never really left since their first couple of self-released, jazzier albums, putting out something every couple or few years (while bassist / guitarist Colin Marston jumps into 900 other bands), but ever since the double whammy of their first two on label releases – which had them master instrumental post-rock under Steve Albini’s production, then master instrumental hardcore with equally classic producer Martin Bisi – I felt like the group went further and further down a wankery (but still wholly enjoyable) tunnel of progged guitar and time changes, culminating in an album that was undeniably technically impressive, but was lacking in a sense of song and structure to really demand relistens.

I am, for some reason, missing having reviewed their album prior to this, The Veil of Control, so it’s very possible that my “they’re back and better than ever” sentiment I’m about to express should switch to that disc, but even if that’s the case, just update this to say “they did it again.”  That “it” is the sense of build and release that’s slowly slipped away; the restraint that made Pretest so powerful, mixed with the intensity of Barriers & Passages, plus the intense interplay that’s come to define the releases thereafter… meaning it’s truly the best of all possible worlds the group has heretofore explored, melded together intra-song and delivered in unbelievably concise packages.  One of the most surprising – and pleasing – aspects of Terminal Threshold is how short it is, with songs hitting the 3 or 4 minute mark and then making their exit.  The technical wizardry has been applied to compositional smarts, compressing all the dynamics needed into each and every song, while still leaving room for the disc, as a whole, to have a sense of growth from start to finish.

Marston’s crisp, technical production is perfect for this style, as it brings everything to the forefront; it doesn’t feel like we’re filling in epicness through hefty production, and there’s not such excessive instrumental wankery that it just turns into a wash of noise.

I love it.  It’s been on repeat forever, and it’s still going.  I can’t wait to see what the next release brings…