Wow… what a journey of an album Costly Signals is. For the uninitiated, Dyssidia is a five-piece progressive metal band from Adelaide, featuring some of the region’s more widely known technical players. This is their first full length release after previously living in EP world for a while, and it’s a good thing they took the leap because the extra time has really allowed them to properly capture what their sound is all about.
Throughout this album you will hear so many bands of influence coming and going before you even get a chance to pin down who it was that part reminded you of. The first thing that really shone through to me though was the guitar influence of the mighty John Petrucci, which is a perfect garnish complement to the musical soup you are about swallow. I heard everything in here from crushing mathcore to the instrumental class of early Dream Theater to the whacky 70’s influenced prog to the obvious vocal influences of Mike Patton, right down to Aussie prog giants Alarum and Caligula’s Horse. Dare say it, I even heard a few points that reminded me of the first Peccatum album ‘Strangling From Within’ and I haven’t listened to that album in 15 years.
Track-wise, we strangely start off with a mathcore ball tearer in ‘Thrive’, which is off-time essentially the whole song and a very unsettling opener for a debut full length release. However, I get the feeling that this is entirely intentional on their part. ‘Infinitesimal’ kicks off in almost King Parrot form, setting the scene with an utterly ripping vocal intro, backed with a Mr Bungle musical face kicking, before reeling things back to the mid-paced Meshuggah feel we get to enjoy from then on.
Arrival is a ripper, and starts off sounding almost like it belongs on a Between The Buried And Me album while also seamlessly winding in and out of about a half dozen other influences throughout the one track. The last 90 seconds of the song is probably the highlight of the album for me though with a beautifully crafted build up into an almost Opeth ‘Deliverance’ style percussive crescendo.
I could keep listing tracks as I enjoy them, but I would just end up listing all of them. This is a fantastically written and produced album for a first effort at the full hour release. The songs are excellently crafted, full of variety but not at all jolting in the transitions, and the performances by everyone individually is world class. I’m waiting on someone releasing a piece of shit this year because I just keep getting these brilliant releases to listen to and I’m not at all upset if it continues this way.
Reviewed by Chris McEwin