Dimentianon - Chapter VI: The Rebirth
(Symbol of Damnation/Paragon Records/Pest Records, 2023)


Where most metal bands these days are content to follow tired, well-worn paths when it comes to direction or style, trying as hard as possible to copy their influences (which is ironic given metal’s supposedly individualist and rebellious bent), some others like Dimentianon still remember a time when part of the plan was to stand out and do something different from what others are doing. Particularly in the USA, among extreme metal bands, maybe due to the sheer number and law of averages, it’s harder than ever to find something that breaks the mold of expectations.  Dimentianon have never been typical but have seen a kind of (burning) rebirth with Dreaming Yuggoth where new members joined, and I would argue that after over 20 years of existence under the name (they were earlier called The Forgotten), Chapter VI: Burning Rebirth marks the zenith of their creativity and mastery of what they do.  In ten diverse and eclectic tracks Dimentianon bounces around a wide range of atmospheres and compositional styles with riffs and sections that can be separately fitted into death, black or doom metal, not to mention some folk-y type clean guitar breaks, making the job of a reviewer pretty fucking difficult which I am sure is something they feel pride in.  Wildly differing tempos ranging from crushing doomy slowness to scorching speed and tearing blastbeats make the album continually engaging and at a length of 60 minutes the material, even after listening to it numerous times in the months since it’s been released, still offers plenty of opportunities to find or rediscover something new.  It seems to be a solid team effort, but a conspicuous portion of the magic must be assigned to Dan Zaros’s imaginative synth work, culminating for me in the eerie and atmospheric The Determining Line, which also features his detached and ghostly vocals alternating with Mike’s intense and untethered harsh performance.  This track has a way of seeping into the subconscious like a poisonous fog, an almost meditative piece actually which could be pigeonholed as atmospheric doom though its cryptic and foreboding feeling and black metal-ish distortion takes it as much into areas unknown, or as Donald Rumsfeld would say, areas of unknown unknowns.  Outside of the metallic songs are also classical compositions, including the rather cinematic intro, Inimica Malevolentia, a smooth and calm though tense synthesizer track that almost puts into question what the listener is about to hear - pretty strange intro overall.  From its wild swings between the aforementioned serenity and bouts of uncontrolled violence, Chapter VI: Burning Rebirth is on the surface a twisted strain of runaway bipolar madness, but with all of its eclecticism and disregard for formula also holds a consistency of quality running throughout all 10 tracks that ultimately salvages it from completely flying off the handle or becoming a big hot mess.  For me, it is a contender for one of the most unusual metal releases of 2023 from these shores (of madness) and makes me nostalgic of better times for metal as a whole, when bands were more daring and willing to take risks than they are, on average, now.  Listen and learn.

Read more of my reviews in issue 10 of Convivial Hermit, order here.