You could have told me that this album was a bunch of demos from Steve Albini’s old band Rapeman, and I would have believed you. It seems that Dysrhythmia have no qualms about their love for Albini, as they got the man himself to produce Pretest. What results is a wonderful look back at late 1980s/ early 1990s math rock.
The Rapeman record Two Nuns and a Pack Mule pretty much set the standard for all math rock bands that would overpopulate the waters of indie rock during the early 1990s, including the much hailed Slint. For whatever reason, Slint’s Spiderland is championed as the math rock record; it’s just not true, and the guys in Dysrhythmia know it! The guitars are high-pitched and grating, eliciting that “Albini sound” from his Rapeman days (his guitars in Shellac are a bit meatier, while his Big Black guitars were ear-piercingly high-pitched). The drums, as to be expected, are loud and overpowering, and sound like Todd Trainer (also of Shellac fame) is playing them. The bass guitar is completely overdriven, sounding almost distorted, but not quite there. This is an instrumental record, so fans of the much-overlooked Dianogah will eat this up with spoon.
I don’t know, there’s only so much that can be said about what is, essentially, a Rapeman tribute band. They don’t really do anything new, compared to what Albini and company were doing some 15 years ago. To be honest, though, I absolutely love this record because it sounds so much like Rapeman. It may be 2003, but it’s good to know that there are people out there who are as committed to aggressive math rock as these guys. It’s good to know that the early-‘90s live on!
Relapse Records: http://www.relapse.com/