Artist: Galactic Pegasus
Album: Dysphoria – EP
When screening someone for depression, one of the cardinal things you’re instructed to look for is a sense of dysphoria. Among other things—depressed mood, fatigue, hopelessness and anhedonia—dysphoria is a powerful indicator that one has lost their place mentally and emotionally within their own lives and the world as a whole. A persistent, nagging sense of dissatisfaction that strikes pervasively through every aspect of life, dysphoria is an oppressive antagonist of an optimistic mindset. It forces you to wander, without a goal or an idea how to even get found or get back on the right track.
Within dysphoria’s haze, you become lost—it’s true of the mindset, and it’s true of the 2018 EP by Canadian progressive metalcore outfit Galactic Pegasus.
Groovy, intense, heavy as hell and relentlessly groovy, Dysphoria sees the band at their most outright oppressive yet, using crushing, downtuned grooves and eerie, hair-raising riffs in an oscillatory manner on every track the release has to offer, sparking a powerful, pit-inducing display of unhinged, djent-tinted metalcore that is bound to set a fire in the listener’s headphones.
Galactic Pegasus aren’t a band whose name might imply ruthlessness, but as soon as “Beginning of Infinity” kicks in, that’s exactly what the listener gets. Dysphoria is a punishing release that utilizes extreme ends of the heavy music spectrum to keep the listener on their toes for the duration of the release. Songs like the looming and brutalizing introduction, as well as “Violenti Non Fit Injuria” and “The Looking Glass” are nothing short of immolating, using aggressive, headstrong percussion as a backdrop for bouncy, hectic bass work and djent-tinted riffs and grooves that will have the listener’s head banging in no time. Meanwhile, much of the album closer, “Shadow King,” lingers on a more melancholy and gloomy note, spending its first half as more of a dirging, solemn anthem more than any of its angry and intense counterparts did. This serves to highlight the band’s musical diversity—as they can easily and excellently capture heaviness and brutality with a progressively-tinted lens, so can they capture ethereality and despair, with portions of “Shadow King” and seconds of “Akuma” conveying that without skipping a beat.
Galactic Pegasus’ vocal effort is every ounce as dynamic as their musicianship, even if it finds itself slightly more subject to criticism. For the vast majority of Dysphoria, the band’s vocals are a perfect depth and candor, with “Beginning of Infinity” launching headlong into gritty growls that spend much of the EP oscillating between harsh, mid-range yells and savage bellows. “Akuma” is another example of this; as the group’s vocal element blends peerlessly with the bold, groovy (but still bone-busting) nature of the instrumentation. However, “Shadow King” throws a wrench in the works. While the band’s musical dynamism is nothing short of jaw-dropping, the vocal work throughout the opening half seems out of place—which isn’t to say it’s bad, but more to say it simply doesn’t fit. Because of this, the sublimely grim atmosphere established by the sullen drums and somber fretwork is squandered until the song picks up the pace, ending Dysphoria in a fashion not dissimilar to the remainder of the release.
While Dysphoria is a brief listen, it is diverse. As mentioned previously, it is, without a doubt, Galactic Pegasus’ heaviest release to date, it also stands to be one of their most diverse (with portions of Phantom of the Hill a close rival). Combining moments of unfiltered ethereality with a backbone of blistering aggression. Some parts work—and some not as much—but it’s a welcome infusion of (continued) experimentation that showcases the band as one not content with stagnation. The result? Dysphoria, a release that entrenches the listener in a haze of oppressive, dissonant devastation with just enough atmosphere to keep things aloft.
For Fans Of: Struc/Tures, Allies to the Adversary, Veil of Maya, Volumes
By: Connor Welsh