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August 2013
Released: 2013, Self-Released
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: UK Team

The compound genre of melodic tech-death metal is not only a tricky one to approach; it's also one that is terrifically easy to get wrong. Mind-bogglingly, facepalm-inducingly wrong. When due to spin the debut eight-tracker of five-piece Dichotomy, hailing from the Emerald Isles, it's a task that could top and tail in, at worst, vertiginous and passionless note-flurries, walls of crushing technicality that you can barely breathe in time to, or, at the other end of the spectrum, sloppy riffs aplenty that sadly fall a shade short of qualifying for the fretboard gymnastics team.

But on slamming 'Paradigms' through my headphones, I'm not just slapped in the face. I'm pelted head-on with an abstract ball of aural evil and subtlety. In fact, I can hardly believe this is a debut. Sure, the sweep-picks, gazillion-mile-per-hour hammer-ons and miscellaneous finger acrobatics are as real as global warming. But they're tied with stunning panache and seamlessness to furious death riffs that keep your head nodding, and weaved into tumbling, mid-tempo rhythms that anchor them in groove, and prevent them from flying into some binary code oblivion in which a PhD in robotics is a prerequisite to enjoying them.

What's more, any techno-craziness is injected from time to time with passive cleaner or reverb-soaked sections – a great flavour amid the aggression of the disc's theme, dusted with djenty effects that neither detract from, not intrude upon the death-centred core.

Not only is every track a corker, which is a bloody hard game to win for any band, and especially for a debut album, but each one is crafted with hooks, memorability and catchiness. There's none of this 'getting lost in the Locrian mode caverns of your own ass' and abstract tangents that never resolve themselves or go anywhere: there is essentially a verse-chorus blueprint running through all numbers, or at least some sectioned cohesiveness within them.

Unless you're delving into progressive realms, grooves to latch onto in compound genres such as melodic tech-death are vital to retain accessibility, if accessibility is what you're after. Dichotomy clearly are, and have forged a fantastically rich and creative melting pot in which Gojira's stunning melodic jumps are married to Carcass' stand-out improvisation, while enjoying secret trysts with Decapitated's brutality and a mistress of Opeth's dark ambiance.

Modern, yet paying heed to tradition; technical, yet groovy as hell. This is a great inaugural work from five of Ireland's most promising new pioneers of the genre. Give it a whirl and boast that you caught it before everyone else did.

Review by Rhiannon Marley
Track Listing

1. Empyrean
2. The Sentient Oppressed
3. All - Seeing Eye
4. Polarity
5. No Catharsis
6. Covenant Of The Forsworn
7. Alea Iacta Est
8. Of Strife Of Discord


Rats – Guitar
Andrew Kealy – Guitar
Dave Fay – Drums
Neil Coburn – Bass
Kev O’Connor – Vocals

Other reviews

» Paradigms
by UK Team

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