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Dim Mak and Phobia…

Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006 @ 8:35am » permalink

Dim Mak - Knives of IceI've never been a huge fan of New Jersey's Dim Mak for whatever reason, though of course I absolutely respect the significance of vocalist Scott Ruth's and guitarist Shaune Kelley's time in the dreadfully underrated Ripping Corpse (along with former Dim Mak drummer Brandon Thomas – the band now boasts former Angelcorpse, Origin, and Skinless sticksman John Longstreth behind the kit). And speaking of Ripping Corpse, wasn't "Dreaming With the Dead" supposed to be reissued at some point or something? Why the hell hasn't that happened in the last 15 years!? Anyway, I respect the Dim Mak backstory, but for whatever reason I simply haven't listened to their music all that much over the years. That being said, I am glad to see them back in action after the long gap since 2002's "Intercepting Fist", and "Knives of Ice" (released by the mighty Willowtip) is probably their best record to date, at least for my money. Some of the overall songwriting doesn't necessarily grip me (Although the chorus of "Seeing Crows in Silver" sounds almost identical to half of the songs on the first Deicide record, which is awesome!), but I'm certainly a fan of their ultra clean and precise playing, and the shreddingly textured picking patterns and windingly dissonant riffs are right up my alley. As a result I tend find myself wishing they'd focus solely on those types of riffs as opposed to venturing into some less interesting tremolo picking territory, but thankfully those feverishly meaty rhythms are dominant throughout.

I wasn't sure what to make of the recording at first, but now that my ears have adjusted I enjoy certain aspects of it quite a bit. The drums are handled about as efficiently as possible considering the rigidity of the tones alongside the speed of many of the beats, but while I'd still (as usual) prefer a little more warmth there (coupled with more noticeable basslines), the vocals and guitars sound excellent. The guitar tone is especially great because it's got a crispness to it that lets every little nuance of the riffs present itself, and that's perfect for this technical brand of uniquely thrashy/deathy material that's neither quite death metal nor quite thrash!? Go figure. Maybe this will be the record that inches Dim Mak up in my extended listening rotation?

Dim Mak "Seeing Crows in Silver"
Dim Mak "Incident at the Temple at Leng"

Make the grab if you dig the tunes, and if you plan to buy it, you'd be insane to purchase anywhere other than directly from the label. They're extremely cheap and faster than any other source I've encountered:

@ Willowtip

Phobia - Serenity Through PainAnother recent addition to the ever-expanding Willowtip roster are the grindcore stalwarts of Orange County's own Phobia. These cats have been at it for more than 15 years and have a slew of releases out on a slew of different labels, and they're still going strong. I'm not gonna lie, though, for whatever reason I sort of lost interest in Phobia after "Serenity Through Pain" a few years back (their debut full-length, "Means of Existence", remains my favorite of their releases), so I haven't been keeping up with much of what they've been doing since then. While "Cruel", their latest full-length affair (21 songs in less than 27 minutes), doesn't exactly make me suspect that I've missed anything of vital importance during that time, it is a powerful example of the band's staying power. As usual there are only sparse variances away from the band's patented form of blistering and straightforward grind towards either slower/moodier fare or slightly more hardcore/punk oriented riffing, just enough so that it's not a one-sided listen, and that works damn fine for me, as often those slight variances make the most impact!

Phobia "Never"
Phobia "Cursed"
Phobia "Numb"

Same story: If you like it, buy it. The label's an excellent purchasing source:

@ Willowtip

5 Comments...

  1. Johnny says:

    Wasn't there a H8000 band called Dim Mak about 10 years ago? Or may be a label?

  2. AVERSIONLINE says:

    There is/was another band by that name but I have no idea if they were H8000-related or not, I've never heard them. And there's also a label called Dim Mak Records, yeah.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Scott Ruth is one of the sweetest guys I've ever met in the heavy music scene! I remember interviewing him when I was 15 for my death metal zine. Fas forward 7-8 years and I'm playing with Dave Witte in a band called Black Army Jacket and Dave introduced me to Scott. He actually remembered me!

    Through Dave, I got to hear the unreleased Ripping Corpse album. It is stellar! Ahead of it's time. And this is without any vocals ever recorded! I hope if they ever re-release their debut album, they add the unreleased material on there! Also, their demo with "Stone Garden" would be a nice add on!

    -carlos

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dude. Black Army Jacket was awesome. I got the split with Hemlock. That was good stuff.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks bro!

    -carlos