Dyatlove – Dyatlove – EP Review
Definitely been looking forward to this one.
I probably miss my old home in Vancouver, BC, a lot less than I originally thought I would overall…but this crew of four is certainly making me miss those live stages & clubs over there right now. Aside from this whole pandemic we’re all stuck in making any release of a record super awkward to say the least right now, I’d imagine that Dyatlove would have been out there kicking not just some, but all of the ass.
And Vancouver could use a new champion right now from what I can see & hear lately. I’m never gonna get so old that I’m gonna be one of those guys that yells about how it was all so much better way back when – but I did take for granted just how non-stop & consistent the scene was at the time we packed up to leave in 2016. I just assumed the momentum in the scene would continue long after we were gone. It did not.
Disappointing to say the least. Had I known the way it would go, or that the intensity of the scene would even drop a degree…I don’t know if I would have been able to leave with as clear of a conscience as I did in the move over here to Ottawa, Ontario. I’m not taking responsibility for being the dude that held it together – it was always the music that did that. And I’m not saying that nothing is happening either…maybe just not as much. A lot of the music just went back underground instead for the past several years, recalculating, reforming, reshaping itself…and getting prepped for new records. Hopefully, if this new four-piece crew in Dyatlove has anything to do about it, they’ll break the scene wide-open again and bring it raging back it to its maximum strength. They’ve got a seriously beastly record here with their debut EP, and they’ve restored some of my faith about what’s happening over there on the west side of Canada right now. Even the write-up of the bio in this band confirms they’ve got a real unified attitude, a clear vision for the colossal scope of the music they want to create, and an approach that has the strength to succeed if they can keep everything as tight as they are as a band right now…especially with the gripping sound they have.
All I’m saying is watch for Dyatlove to rip it up live when this whole lockdown is over. Until then, take some solace in the fact that a new leader in the scene is about to emerge and that in just over a month’s time from today, you’ll be able to confirm that for yourselves when this new EP officially gets released. I know many of you out there have been waiting patiently for this project to start their world domination; the hype surrounding Dyatlove has been growing for months & months at this point…we’re nearly there.
The atmospherically-inclined beginning of “Pass The Heavens” allows this record to bring you in slowly and immediately put the sonic depth of Dyatlove’s sound on display at the same time. You start sinking your teeth in deep to the swirl of a Post-Rock style for the first ninety-seconds or so…and arguably, the song will stay in that vein even after the vocals of lead-singer Sam are revealed to us. What? Post-Rock can have vocals too…it’s just hella more rare is all. Ultimately, Dyatlove is much more of a hybrid combination of styles & sounds that couldn’t be limited to any one particular genre…I’m just tellin’ ya how this all starts out and brings us in to their self-titled debut. The facts are the facts – these songs are lengthy, and the band will go on to use their time extremely wisely – you might start in a style like a Post-Rock vibe, and then what would you say you’re in around the 3:45 mark? Sam starts lighting it up on the mic and gettin’ all kinds of savage with his intensity…Dyatlove will chill as a band for the next ninety-seconds or so and let you have a breather…before they fuckin’ detonate and explode through your speakers for around a full three-minutes straight as they storm to the end. Absolutely wicked guitars from Sam and Rikki…you’ll discover big, bold, and seriously thick sound continuously pouring out of your speakers on “Pass The Heavens” – and whether they’re in their most aggressive moments or their most melodically-inclined, the guitars of this first cut remain a huge highlight of this first impression and will go on to become a majorly defining attribute of Dyatlove’s sound overall. The highly tangible texture and depth in the music of this band is going to be a giant asset for them going forward – and it sure comes in handy in making a debut record create a memorable impact, that I can tell ya. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s gonna mislead you into thinking this whole experience is going to be chilled-out & serene…I think you can hear from the tones in the music and the passion in the way these guys play “Pass The Heavens” that there’s something more coming – and I like that you get the slow reveal from Dyatlove on this first cut. They’re in no particular hurry to get to the hard stuff at all – they clearly understand the value of the amount of contrast, depth, and dimensions of the potential in their sound and they’re taking the time to explore all it has to offer. Your ears will end up appreciating this approach greatly…they get great moments in the breakdowns that will show ya how essential Justin’s bass is; by comparison to a lot of what rages on the surface, you’ll always find this dude is locked right into his instrument and there to strengthen each of these cuts with his reliable & steady musicianship. Right down to the final moments though…you’ll find the instrumentation in this band stays impressive all the way through…listen to their drummer Rob get all kinds of innovative as they storm to the end of the opening cut & deconstruct it on the way out – this is a solid first impression, ain’t no doubt about it.
Good LORDY. The sludge factor has been turned up to the nth degree on “Empty Lungs” folks – the beginning of this cut is one serious force to be reckoned with. When people talk about music having teeth…this is what they mean – “Empty Lungs” feels like it could fuckin’ BITE YOUR FACE right off your neck as it starts. While in the grips of the song’s intensity to follow, you’ll hear that Post-Rock influence in the guitars from Rikki & Sam for sure, but you’ll easily notice it’s no longer the dominant trait in the music when it comes to the enormous sound created on “Empty Lungs” – this song is 100% gigantic. There’s no doubt that this second cut is so gnarly that it’ll polarize the living daylights of listeners out there – but it’s more than safe to say that if you grow as addicted to the scathing & brutalizing sound that they’re doling out in the most extreme doses, that you’ll be more than on board with Dyatlove from here on in too. Does “Empty Lungs” refer to the fact that Sam probably witnessed one or both of his own fly outta his throat and onto the floor in front of him while he ripped through this song with such forceful power? Sure! Why not? It may as well be referring to that fact – though I’d imagine this song would at least have a double-meaning if that’s really the case. Probably more likely that they just really realize how well that title suits this song after watching Sam dive for an oxygen tank after singing it to get some damn air after all that screamin.’ I do think that, much like all music really, there are certainly going to be people that ‘get’ Dyatlove’s sound, and others that would likely never be able to hang with the punishing collage of moodiness and mayhem they’re capable of creating. And that’s natural…you show me the band out there that’s pleased 100% of the people 100% of the time and I’ll happily retire knowing the whole scene is obviously okay and everyone out there has everything they need. Until that day comes, I’m more than happy to dive straight into the niche projects out there that appeal to some of you…and tell ya all about why they should appeal to ALL of ya on one level or another. I think they freakin’ rocked the vocals on this cut, especially towards the beginning with the atmospheric background layers added in. Sam’s always been one of my favorite voices out there in the scene and has proven himself a million times over already in previous bands he’s been in like Fey and Salmon Friends – my opinion on that hasn’t changed at all – dude’s a monster on the mic and a master of melody when he wants to be. He’s up on his gnarly side on “Empty Lungs” for sure…but goddamn this guy commits – this whole cut is deadly from the moment it starts, but hearing the way they surge even harder to the end post-breakdown is another highly satisfying & tasty treat you’ll find for your ears upon this record.
Because I drew the correct color when it came time for us journalists to draw rocks – I’ve got this record by about a month in advance…Dyatlove’s self-titled EP is coming out on May 29th 2020 as far as I know. That being said, right now, if you wanna check some of this out for yourself – and you SHOULD – they’ve released a killer cut called “Fragile Fixation” as the lead-single from the record, with a fully kickass pro-video to go with it – check it out for yourself and get a dose of what this crew is capable of by clickin’ it!
I’ll say this…almost all of us that have had any interaction with the radio-side of this music-business knows full well that any tune above three & a half minutes is already going to fight an uphill battle to get played anywhere out there, nevermind what style it’s in. It’s not impossible to get a longer cut out there, just indefinitely harder…and obviously Dyatlove is gonna have to be prepared somewhat for that. In the day & age of people having the shortest attention span ever on record, there’s no doubt that this band asks a ton of the everyday music listener – but also no doubt that real musicians & music-heads out there will seriously dig the extra effort being put into this music from production to performance. So make no mistake…in a way, “Fragile Fixation” at its super-short length of just under five-minutes ends up almost being the selection they’d have to make by default – but I’d also say that there’s no arguing that it’s also the EP’s most widely-accessible song by a large margin. What I really LOVE about this song, is that it doesn’t even remotely compromise the savageness that Dyatlove has already established in their sound…this feels like they’ve found that avenue to take it to the masses and keep their integrity intact at the same time. Sure around the 3:15-ish mark they amp-up their intensity to an even harder level, but for the most part, they’ve got bulletproof hooks screaming from the music and the microphone that would satisfy just about every person out there that knows how to use the ears on their face. Much like many of you out there, “Fragile Fixation” was my first experience with Dyatlove’s music as well, after having checked out that video to see what’s up in this highly-anticipated project – and while on that initial spin I was undeniably impressed with what I heard & what I saw in the visuals directed by Ashes & Sam – I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite comprehend the full hold this cut would take on me at the time. As I toured through this whole EP for the first couple times, each time “Fragile Fixation” came on, it got a genuine reaction of “fuckin’ rights – it’s THAT song again” and a crank of the volume from yours truly…and I’d say by the third listen or so, I realized I was now a full-on JUNKIE. I basically need this song like an addict needs a needle…blasting this song at maximum volume is how I ‘get well.’ There’s literally nothing I don’t absolutely obsess over – the guitars are sonically supreme, Sam’s got either his best or most melodic – or both – performance goin’ on…and the rhythm section is tight AF. Consider yourselves warned and approach with caution…you might like or even love “Fragile Fixation” as much as I did at the beginning…but then soon enough you’ll feel the itch and realize you need this song like a fish needs water. Brilliant fucking song and a fantastic single…wicked video…everything you want from Dyatlove in a gateway tune doesn’t just exist here, it thrives – and ultimately I think there’s an argument to be made that within the blueprint of this very song, is a pathway forward to huge success.
Instrumentation-wise, these players have been fucking slayin’ it with everything they got throughout the three songs they’ve put onto their debut record so far…and Dyatlove will find one last surge of intensity, melody, and electrified energy before this is all over, saving some major highlights & fireworks for the finale that is “Old Haunts.” Damn near a combination of Meshuggah-like heaviness meets the glorious atmospheres of Explosions In The Sky if you were to ask me – now ask yourself, are you fuckin’ READY for that? This ain’t music for the faint of heart folks! The hardest hitting moments of “Old Haunts” are strong enough to knock you flat on your ass if you’re too close to the speakers when you listen – and the melodic moments in the song’s latter half, including an INCREDIBLE appearance by the trumpet of Jay Phelps…are likely some of the best you’ll hear in any tune this year. And listen to those drums will ya? Rob is nailing it back there from atop of the throne and gettin’ his toms fired up in multiple directions. Long before you’ll get there, you start with a much more threadbare beginning to “Old Haunts” which is mainly just the guitars, bass, and Sam screaming away like his freakin’ life depends on it…and while it might seem like minimal ingredients listed here on a page, you’ll be completely impressed by just how fuckin’ beastly the first two-minutes of this final song quickly become. Almost like it’s built with the same methods of a real epic story – “Old Haunts” goes through several parts that have their own hooks & appeal, but also remains tied together through the key threads that run between the guitars & vocals. Everyone deserves a huge shout-out for this cut as far as I’m concerned…is it as accessible as “Fragile Fixation” was? Hell no. Parts of it are for sure…maybe even more so. But what Dyatlove exchanges for a degree or two of accessibility is one of the most engaging structures and powerfully written songs that you’ll likely hear this year. You combine that with the attention to detail and the care that this band has taken to the songs on this record…the AMAZING aforementioned trumpet solo by Phelps…the brilliant ability Dyatlove has to switch & transition between styles, moods, and energies with such precision – I’m tellin’ ya people…it’s really something to behold. I’m probably like most of you out there…I’m gonna gravitate to the pull towards “Fragile Fixation” at first because that’s the sleekness it has in its design – that’s why it makes a great choice as the single to put out there – but if someone were to ask me what Dyatlove was all about and what they really sounded like inside of ONE song on this record, I’d tell them to sit down, shut up, and listen to “Old Haunts.” And then I’d crank it up to max volume and sit their grinning BIG whilst said person who’d asked me began to shit themselves in a mix of pure shock & awe. I mean, c’mon…when you hear this song’s empowering musical hooks start to climb for the first time around the 2:30 mark…fuck…it makes me feel like I could go out and conquer the whole planet – and when you combine that with the power in Sam’s vocals afterwards, it’s like nothing could stand in your way with this song as your soundtrack. Fuck the Avengers – YOU could take on Thanos with this tune at your side, and if you played the battle just right, before he could snap you into dust, the most sonically savage moments or melodic beauty in “Old Haunts” would reduce him to rubble before he even got a hit in. Real bonus points for that trumpet inclusion though…that was a real genius move and a fantastically unexpected moment on the Dyatlove record that audibly proves this band is seeking to do MORE with their music and create songs with real imagination, ideas, and punch that makes a lasting impact on us.
Listen. I can’t completely guarantee my neighbors have been as happy as I’ve been while I’ve been blasting this record at full blast for the past couple weeks or so…but I could definitely vouch for the fact that I couldn’t care less. Because the plan right now is to continue this trend and keep this Dyatlove EP spinning solidly throughout 2020…they’ve got one behemoth set of four savage cuts on this record that warrant a major repeating, and a lineup of tunes that command & demand your full attention. This whole experience met every hope & expectation I could have had, then smashed & surpassed them all – Dyatlove’s EP didn’t let me down for a solitary second – you need this record on your playlists this year.
Find out more about Dyatlove from their official page at Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/dyatlovesounds
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