As the cracks on the rehearsal space ceiling leak and fester with putrid slime the current influx of jog-paced ‘old school’ death metal blooms with a truly saturated rainbow of molds and mutations that continue to be more about motion than musical statement. The hordes of ‘caveman shit’ and primitive death metal impose their very presence among the death metal communities of southern California as a sort of menace; Expressing as a sort of zombified plague, a spore-filled master gut belching out infectious and mindless groove that grows bloodier and toothed as the decay progresses beyond the sunshine state. The return of Autopsy, the spiraling putrescence of Vastum, or the gore-filled mania of Undergang are all seemingly equal in their blame for the last decade of deathly mold gripping the minds of young folks and turning them into droning, cartilaginous masses of fleshy acid-spitting holes. The music of Santa Cruz area death metal band Dipygus, unlike the congenital defect, grew its extraneous pair of legs not as a genetic anomaly but through deep love for the grotesque, the mutated, and the sort of diamond in the rough je ne sais quoi that true freakdom brings. The road to ‘Deathooze’ was relatively unassuming but this debut provides a powerfully intoxicating huff of their remarkably filth-laden sound.
In terms of riling up the primitive death metal fan of today there are plenty of modern death metal groups employing a similar ethos as Dipygus that come with varying degrees of doom, sludge, and grind in their repertoire but ‘Deathooze’ reaches for an extra level of distinction with theme and just slightly sharper than average songwriting than many peers. Working from the deepest past to the uncertain future I would begin by referencing Nuclear Death‘s ‘Carrion For Worm’ and most clearly ‘Mental Funeral’-era Autopsy in terms of most pure generational influences invoked by Dipygus. From there early Abscess records, such as ‘Tormented’, and most anything from Cauldron Black Ram (‘Stalagmire’, I’d say) should give the most clear idea of the structures, unpredictable movements, and general mid-to-slow paced action on ‘Deathooze’. If you’re still in the dark at this point then I’d say look to Rotheads or Vastum for a general idea of sound but with somewhat different styles of death metal employed. Still to obscure? Its just goddamned death metal, and moderately catchy stuff at that.
“Eh, no idea what the hype is about.” was my reaction to the first listen, and I’d say it took about four full spins in a row to really latch onto the ease of groovin’ that defines Dipygus‘ best moments which are unfortunately regularly interrupted by samples from old horror movies, TV shows, and perhaps the most distracting intro to “Deloy’s Ape” which begins with the 911 phone call in the aftermath of an elderly women fighting and stabbing a famous chimpanzee who then ripped an innocent woman’s hands, face, and… Well, you can look it up. It is a bit ridiculous to come back to the full emergency recording every damn time I spin the record and it doesn’t help that it prefaces one of the better doom-leaning tracks on the album. Samples are filler beyond fifteen seconds, gimmickry to begin with, and the lengthier ones did eventually deter me from returning to the album after a while. This was somewhat at odds with how much I enjoyed ‘Deathooze’ otherwise as the fantastic Earhammer Studios sound from Greg Wilkinson and the cretinous artwork from Douglas Camp make for the sort of ‘Mental Funeral’-esque death metal record I tend to love without question.
Between opener “Corpseflower” and the aforementioned “Deloy’s Ape” not only are we getting that quasi-death/doom sound but hints of deathgrind (“Cyclopia”) that actually reminded me a bit of Deathgrave in essence but Dipygus are at their best on the tracks that stretch beyond four minutes (not including samples). “Angillas: Killer of the Living” and “Coffin Stain” might be a shade more ‘standard’ compared to most of Side A but this last blast of Side B riffs contains a great deal of the the bands formative sonic personality beyond the cryptid tales, sentient horrors, and genetic anomalies that loosely theme the record. Interesting as all of this was I suppose it took a while to get past the high expectations that hype and their association with psychedelic/dark doom acts (Cosmic Reef Temple, Gloam, Death Monk) that’d had me ready for something further out of the ordinary. It is an excellent debut from a talented band, though, and I wouldn’t discount their above average capabilities for a second, especially the guitar compositions which are wholly clever and interesting. A few small irritations fudge up the long-term appeal of ‘Deathooze’ for my own taste but no doubt there is substance, fun, and a pile of rotten riffs that most death metal fans will enjoy here. Moderately high recommendation. For preview I’d suggest “Corpseflower” and “Coffin Stain” as the prime cuts within.
He ripped her face off! 3.75/5.0
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