Album Review: Dipygus – Dipygus

Album Review: Dipygus - Dipygus
Reviewed by Sam Jones

One of the first records releasing in 2024 that grabbed my attention, Dipygus’ third album is a self-titled release adorned with artwork depicting cavemen and primeval tribes; anything that radiates “Return To Monke” vibes is a record I want to check out. Formed in 2013 out of California, United States, Dipygus have been at this for a while now yet this was my first instance of ever having heard of them. The band are a case study in slow but steady, releasing various works like an EP, Demo and a Split over time before finally unleashing their first studio album, Deathooze, in 2019. Two years on, the band gave us Bushmeat. Their latest major work, their EP Wet Market, was released Summer last year, and so we come at last to their self-titled third album and through Memento Mori no less as well. I was highly curious with this album and so couldn’t wait to get stuck in. This is my first exposure to Dipygus

Something that Dipygus employ is a technique I haven’t felt for some time from an extreme metal record; as the band play, better yet from the opening minutes, you become accustomed to their soundscape having no natural limiters or walls erected to keep their sound contained. The band quickly make it abundantly apparent that this self-titled record isn’t going to be hemmed in against its will and as a result, the band’s performance is given all the room it wishes to move and breathe. It ensures the band’s otherwise cavernous tone isn’t stuck with a production that forces their considerable weight on the listener’s senses, alleviating them and offering an easier experience for all to enjoy. Upon repeated listening, it assures us that we can dive back into this record without trepidation of having to endure such a cacophonous atmosphere. Riffs and basslines flow from one end to the other without a hint of resistance and, in doing so, the band open doors enabling riffs and licks to assume a more malicious and wilder semblance since Dipygus are delving into that prehistoric, primeval concept.

This, in turn, is additionally corroborated by the way the bass has been injected into this record. Rather than have the bass play alongside the rest of the instrumentation, the bass here is absolutely unconcerned standing rigidly by the rules; basslines flow and erupt from either side, from top and bottom as their fat tones ring at all moments you’re listening. The bass work can be enjoyed at any given moment as much as the primary riff is pushing the songwriting along at the same time which only furthers the notion this record is a primeval beast where rules and limitations have long ceased to matter. If anything, mixing the bass into the record in the way Dipygus have done also guarantees a more engaged audience since the foundational layer of this album isn’t merely some static bedrock that the band can bounce off from. Instead, their sound takes on a malleable, near fluidic texture, like an ocean in storm, since the bass is ever changing and refuses to maintain one form. Like trying to harness slime, you can try and pin it down but it’ll only ooze out of your palms.

Album Review: Dipygus - Dipygus

While the guitar work clearly possesses a prominent fixture in the band’s chemistry, I was really impressed with the simple way they handled soloing and more spontaneous wailing licks. I do feel like many bands try and veer away from the more unconstrained style of extreme metal playing because some may deem it juvenile, but it’s evident Dipygus have it working in their favour for the solos certainly have a particular sheen when they’re playing, dragging your attention over to their particular notes; it certainly aids the band that their solos aren’t merely fluff but fully realised pieces of a track that go that extra mile to fit right in and, should they be removed, a fundamental structural aspect would have been lost. It’s equally evident when those wilder sounding licks and crying whammy-bar induced bombings are used that the band aren’t afraid to latch onto your more primal element to get you on board. The name of the game is still quality songwriting but Dipygus, much like the prehistoric ideals they play about, are fully at home with letting loose time and again immersing you within their Stone Age battles.

I feel like an understated element from the album, even as you’re listening, are the drums. Throughout the record the drums are naturally present doing precisely what you’d expect, yet there are instances where the drums will truly launch into a world of their own. Take the track “Vipers At The Pony Keg”, where the drumming easily escalates from the typical patterns to bass drumming that utterly pounds us into dust. Not only are the bass drums played with ferocious intensity, but the production has lent its hand and given us the ability to hear every single kick of the drums. I’d argue it’s down, large part, to the lightened production the band opted for since, had the band undergone a typically cacophonous, boxes in production, the drums would not have been given the freedom needed to breathe and to let these bass drums feel as pronounced as they are. Whilst the drums are coated in a muddy aesthetic, we can still feel their striking and crashing tones even as the band hurl these vocals and riffs our way, for blast beats are achieved with ease and though they’re far from the most pummelling kind we’ve heard, they keep the momentum going as only a malignant metronome would.

In conclusion, Dipygus’ self-titled release, their third full length work, is a great, compelling death metal record that is bound to garner scores of new fans over to their side. Dipygus may be in league with a myriad of newer death metal bands yet there’s something certainly unique about these guys that I could help but love. I think it’s down to the band’s complete devotion to crafting the most ruthless record they could whilst still retaining, at heart, a sound and approach that’s completely unapologetic in the simpler elements that will raise our eyebrows. There’s great songwriting to be had, but they aren’t afraid to throw in a wicked solo to get the blood flowing; they employ drums to always keep us on the move, yet their bass drums have been mixed so we hear every kick and beat as they play through the record. While such elements aren’t always employed in this kind of death metal record, it does work for Dionysus since it solidifies that more unhinged and sadistic quality the band play about. Yet, we mustn’t think this a record without thought, for the band’s crowning achievement is easily their near-twelve minute opus, “Sacral Crown”, that takes us on an extraordinary journey, always changing and evolving but maintaining our attention. Ultimately, Dipygus’ self-titled work is a beast far from dumb and exudes a malevolence that few have attained lately. 2024 is already shaping up nicely.

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