Psychic Maps

It’s funny about revelations, moments of clarity, epiphanies and the like. When they come to us, it seems like a deep spiritual phenomenom, the type named and generally described better by eastern rather than western religions, what with their deja-vu, preja-vu, reincarnations and similar “god moves in mysterious ways” mumbo jumbo, but in reality it’s all about rational if subconscious associations, in other words, seeing with plain sight what’s always been right under your nose or in this case, hearing what’s always been between your ears. See, for years I’ve been trying to classify Dysrhthmia, but nothing quite fit. Sure Keelhaul and Don Cabellero are similar stylistically, structurally and the influence of various progressive and metallic bands, as well as progressive metallic bands is more than apparent. Take it as a given that what makes the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Philly trio special is their resistance to easy classification, and that their worthiness can easily be confirmed without points of reference, by simply listening to their music, or even better, experiencing it live.  

But then this summer it hit me, staring at the pre-order page at the Relapse website, where Psychic Maps, the fourth album in what has been a promising and eclectic discography was sharing real estate with the final album of a similarly eclectic band, the final work of a similarly eclectic lead guitarist and songwriter, and that is when I had my “Luke, I am your Father” musical moment for 2009. Luke in this case is Dysrhthmia’s guitarist and driving creative force, the confoundingly fleet fingered Kevin Hufnagel, and, his father, trapped in a strange world between and beyond technology and humanity is Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, recently deceased guitarist for the legendary Voivod.  

Shocking, right? What a twist. Where it is Piggy’s former bandmates who have honored his legacy by arranging and releasing his final works, it is Hufnagel’s trio that carries on, that takes the unique, esoteric, and off-kilter style of metal which D’Amour alone created and perpetuated and exponentially expands it, hell explodes it, from the crazed musical musings of one maestro to the height of being it’s own movement, it’s own discipline, it’s own plateau and for Dysrhythmia’s purposes, an interstellar engine for further and deeper exploration. 

That Hufnagel is again joined by another serious Voivod devotee, particularly in the hairstyle department, in Behold…. The Arctopus’s Colin Marston on bass, only lends more weight to my theory. On Psychic Maps, the pair along with drummer Jeff Eber stare deep into the Korgull skull and Rrröööaaarrr like true chaos-mongers, and despite the lack of coherent compositional narrative, and occasional indulgences in ultra-shred (“Lifted by Skin”) or angular post-prog excursions (“Room of Vertigo”), it is clear that these young jedis know the power of the dark side, and stopping somewhere on his amazing cosmic voyage, Piggy is smiling, saying the force is strong with these three. I won’t presume to suggest anything about the status of student and master beyond that, it would be disrespectful and silly, but suffice to say, that those who reside on the Outer Limits might emerge from their mourning, when they’re ready, throw on Psychic Maps and let the healing begin.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
September 10th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Dimaension X

    So I’m guessing you liked the album? I got confused with all the Voivod/Darth Vader references.

    So Piggy is Hufnagel’s metaphorical/musical dad? Hence the odd angular riffage contained herewithin the album.

    So it sounds like instrumental Voivod?

    Does that make Damon Che “Yoda”?

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Tzompantli   - Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force
  • Ad Patres - Unbreathable
  • WyndRider - Revival
  • Unleashed - Before the Creation of Time
  • Ulcerate - Cutting the Throat of God
  • Assassin - The Upcoming Terror/ Interstellar Experience (Reissues)
  • Nyrak - Devourer of All
  • Summoner’s Circle - Cult
  • Kratti - Matka Kohti Kosmista
  • Suffering Souls - An Iconic Taste of Demise
  • Vale of Pnath - Between the Worlds of Life and Death
  • Pathology - Unholy Descent
  • Ischemic - Condemned to the Breaking Wheel
  • Terminal Nation  - Echoes of the Devil’s Den
  • (Un)Worthy - This Present Darkness