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Honest, compelling, and energetic - 99%

T_HORROR, November 15th, 2017

This album is the confluence of the best aspects of crust, sludge, youthful talented musicianship, compelling songwriting, and sheer honesty. These factors combine to create an irresistible, absolutely enthralling release that outshines and outlasts so many of their contemporaries. It’s not even close to a perfect album (no albums are) but it’s one of those releases that simply transcends the elements that comprise it into something memorable. This is somewhat amusing, as this album is basically just a refined version of literal gutter trash, so if you hate trash and the poor losers who revel in it you’ll definitely hate this album and you can stop reading any further.

What an incredible release -- brimming with energy, absolutely seething in rage, and soaked to the bone with the rot of collapsed dreams. Dystopia finds a fantastic middle ground between the realms of crust punk and downtuned, discordant sludge metal. The music speaks for itself, and every aspect of it shines, with all elements working in sync to produce a landmark of aggressive material that I must recommend to everyone as a "must listen."

The songwriting is masterful. There are blazing sections of frenetic crust punk material, with swarming guitar riffs, insane double kicking, and varied styles of barked vocals that surely cover the microphones in a thick layer of spittle. This is interspersed with crushing sludge, featuring a thick and low guitar tone, prominent bass, and interesting, thoughtfully-crafted drum accents and patterns. "Interspersed" isn't really the right word though -- everything flows excellently, sometimes with smooth tempo changes or jarring bursts of energy.

Most notably, there are many breaks featuring extended use of loud, often disturbing samples (with set the atmosphere excellently) overlaying clean guitar and grooving bass lines. Riffs build up on each other, or change abruptly, but it always seems natural. There are hooks all over the place. There are riffs of every sort from both extremes of the hardcore and doomy metallic subgenres. The riffs are often complex and frequently require long, drawn out phrases to complete.

Overall, the songs on here craft an intense, palpable atmosphere of, well, dystopia -- the crumbling of the world, the appalling underbelly of society, drug abuse, mental problems, anguish, suicide, serial killing, anxiety -- and never once do they strain from this atmosphere or compromise it in any way. This album certainly sounds like they live that nightmare every day.

The musicianship is impeccable and spirited. The boys are talented and their performance is honest and authentic. There are little mistakes here and there which don't detract from the music but instead inject a human quality to the performance. Though the mix is overall a bit thin, the instruments all sound very natural and very real. This is the spirit of old school sludge and hardcore in all its glory.

The bass is fucking loud and prominent, with lots of excellent, ominous parts and leads, playing an integral role in the release. Not much more needs to be said – it speaks for itself and forms the beating heart of the release from start to finish.

The guitar work is tight, varied, and full of interesting and sometimes surprisingly complex riffs. It's imaginative too - some of the experimental and noisey interlude sections indulge in very strange and often abrasive extended bouts of pickscraping and other techniques. Most of the guitar is just double tracked, playing the same riff, and there aren't any solos to be found here. There doesn't need to be. It particularly sounds great when it slows down and lets you revel in the subterranean tuning.

The drums pull their weight as well, with lots of interesting patterns and more importantly, the right kind of accents on all the right notes. Even the slow sludgy sections are very entertaining. The drums lead the way through tempo changes flawlessly, and during the faster parts you can easily imagine just how sweaty Dino must be slamming his way through each section.

Finally, the vocals are fucked up, disturbing, and just as great as the rest of the instrumentation. They’re just as honest too – very little processing, personable, and unrefined. We have a mix of styles here, with my favorite being Dino's, who has a sort of horrific, anguished screech complete with voice cracking and subtle whimpering -- the cherry on the cake of desperation and loathing congruent with the atmosphere on this album. The other vocals are great too (there are two other vocalists, one [the guitarist] appearing on the first half of the album [the EP songs] and the other performing the older tracks on the second half of this release.) These are mostly low or mid-range, a more typical crusty sound. They are full of rage and aggression but certainly lack the sheer level of insanity and unhingedness that Dino's have, instead providing a more solid core that does a better job of framing the approach of the music.

Before you realize it, the album is over and you just feel worse, but not as bad as you feel when you realize they only had one other major release and an EP. You could apply this review to the other releases as well – Dystopia was quite consistent in their career. But this is the place to start if you are new to them.

Perfectly Straight Forward - 98%

demonsandfire, June 5th, 2016

No crap is on this album. Just straight forward hate, angst, and misery. What else do you need?

Unfortunately, that isn't enough to be considered a review. Dystopia is a crust punk band with a sludge element. This album is pure gold. The vocals feel tortured just like the subject matter they scream about. The bass is booming with a menacing tone. The drums are an excellent mix of hardcore speed and subtle sludge beats. Guitar has the crushing tone and punk velocity. I don't remember where I found this band but thank god I did. This album is beautiful in the ugly kind of way. Brutal truths that we ignore brought to the foregrounds of our ears. Moments of quiet instrumentation then back to the brutality of punk. The album never slows down though. Those moments of quiet are the perfect length to make you see this band is more than just speed. Stress Builds Character is a perfect intro song. It gripped my attention and it let me know this materialistic world is nothing but a sham. Sanctity is an interesting song broken up by sound bites about suicides. When the sound bite plays, the bass is pumping in a downbeat sinister way, letting you know some shit is about to go down. This album will make you boil with hate and angst, depending on the song you are listening to. You are captivated by what the band is telling which is perfect. Sometimes we need a kick in the teeth to let us know we still have feelings in our cruel world.

Honesty is the best policy and this album gives it to you on a brutal level. If you like dynamic records, this album is perfect. You are constantly on the edge of your seat waiting to see where this album will take you. This album will take your heart and spit on it. It makes you feel unclean and we sometimes need that in our lives. Please pick this album up. Music like this receives too little attention.

Somewhat Antisocial - 95%

GuntherTheUndying, August 2nd, 2015

Unearthing artifacts of a bygone era is always exhilarating. I’m not sure what it was that prompted me to check out a reissue compilation compiling Dystopia’s “Human = Garbage” with a handful of the group’s songs released before their infamous and often acclaimed EP. My initial research behind it had been more than interesting—vague, tenuous rumors claimed the EP contained stolen pictures from trash cans and textbooks, and that it was recorded a few hours after one of the band’s members had been sprung from jail. Be it truth or horseshit, the mythology was enough to get me intrigued. I expected “Human = Garbage” to live up to its title, with plenty of misanthropy to go around.

I don’t think that even scratches the surface of “Human = Garbage.” Lyrics and effects are for most acts secondary, and not necessarily vital to their works, but this does not apply to Dystopia. “Human = Garbage” is unlike anything else, really; a perfect storm from which the group’s constant bombardment of depressing imagery mixes faultlessly with the crust punk spine taking large cues from sludge metal and the occasional death metal touch. It’s a simple release in context, taking the crust foundation and planting the dissonant, atonal seeds of sludge into soil reeking of dejection, with riffs that are as straightforward as they come. “Human = Garbage” certainly makes no attempt to test the limits of technicality; these tracks stick to moving in the candid motion of crust while walking in the down-tuned slime of sludge.

But this is a central chunk to the compilation’s extraordinary aura, and certainly creates a product greater than the sum of its parts. The interaction between the three instruments—just a guitar, a bass, and a drum set—sets up each to make its own significant contribution to the collective. Enthralling bass lines are everywhere, not hiding underneath the direct, heavy-as-fuck riffs and the wide sample of percussion techniques and tempos. The vocals are split between shrill screams and growls, often used in conjunction without throwing everything to shit. Tracks predating the five cuts from “Human = Garbage” have a more prominent penchant for metal elements, especially those which frequent the death metal and grindcore subgenres. Blast beats show up from time to time, while the growls get lower and the guitar tone adds another layer of crisp to its sharp, violent bite.

I mentioned earlier that Dystopia’s imagery is absolutely key. These lyrics—tales of hate, suicide, drug abuse, and crippling social issues—have a rare and fulfilling relationship with the band’s instrumental affairs. The union with which Dystopia works serves “Human = Garbage” in an integral fashion in every respect. The tortured vocals and ultra-heavy base are perfect conduits for songs like “Stress Builds Character” and “Slaved Chains,” whose measures of anguish are perfectly matched to the musical self-destruction at hand. Samples and narrative bits are frequent, and often far more unpleasant than the average addition shoehorned in for second-rate shock value. “Sanctity” is especially troubling, given how heavily based on samples from various media sources explicitly detailing stories of suicide it is, further augmented in its atmosphere by the palpable elements these added parts give to Dystopia’s misanthropic poundings.

“Sanctity” is the full Dystopia experience, but “Sleep” is another excellent one—much more ethereal and atmospheric at times than the remaining songs. But each of the twelve pieces contaminating “Human = Garbage” is a statement in its own way—of nihilism, of hatred, of unbearable depression. This isn’t something to listen to when the summer sun is hot on your head and life feels just peachy; this is for those days when anxiety and misery work their magic to give “Human = Garbage” its real form. Though not the most challenging or interesting work ever recorded, it’s something I can’t stop thinking about or listening to; a release I can’t stop searching for the misanthropic secrets I know are lying in wait. I have seen some, but I know there are far more lurking beneath the surface of this enthralling work.

This review was written for:

Sludge? Haha, no. - 100%

overkill666, October 25th, 2008

Dystopia is basically one of my favorite crust band, and for many reasons. For one, they make very interesting music. Hell, if a band didn't make interesting music you probably wouldn't listen to them. Also, they find ways to make their music epic sounding, which involves a little doom influence.

Calling Dystopia a sludge band is so far stretched it makes me laugh. There's no sludge here people. Dystopia plays straight forward crust with some doom influences. Musically you can expect some fast and heavy, as well as the slow and epic stuff from them. I think they are quite legendary for this kind of stuff anyways. Sludge? no.

Musically, they are heavy at all times. The guitar has a very strong tone, and it keeps your attention 100% of the time. There is a lot of variation in tempo, as well as the main focus. Every instrument in this band gets its moment to shine very frequently. The bass is also very prevalent, which it always has in Dystopia, and would up until 2008 with their last album, which was self-titled. The bass is very heavy, deep, and very entertaining to listen to. They are especially fun to play. The drum lines are very different from other bands. The drummer is also the vocalist so Dystopia really doesn't do blast beats. The beats vary, but always include various symbols and bass pedal fills. The vocals include very vigorous, high pitched screams and some more death metal sounding growls. Everything in this band is enjoyable, in short.

Dystopia is a revolutionary crust band. I haven't heard a crust band like this before in my knowledge of the genre. They aren't repetitive, the songs are more than 20-30 seconds in length, and there is appealing musical skill and writing. Dystopia is a band who should be loved by all. They are plainly an awesome band.