The members of New Zealand’s Dial probably grew up during the peak of AmRep. Their debut EP (Robotic Empire, 2009), a stateside re-release of their demo, demonstrates the hallmarks of the style: cavernous drums; downtuned, ragged guitars; bass as thick as cement; vocals like ipecac-induced vomiting; and lyrics trawling the muck of human existence. The music sounds like performing it breaks bones and spills blood.
True to the form, Dial don’t integrate much variety into songs. The rhythm section anchors throbbing tempos. Guitars grind along with shrieked vocals. The lockstep, stuttering opener “If You’re Not Battling, You’re Dead” sets the tone with machine-like pounding that sounds like it was wound in barbed wire. “Always At The Border” and “Permanent Opium War” borrow from the second side of My War, yet lack Greg Ginn’s bent genius. Their noise becomes pain for the sake of pain. Even Cows or early Helmet, famous for sonic torture, knew when to sweeten the mood. That’s not to belittle Dial. This is a capable band, confident beyond its years. Most demos don’t display this level of power. If Dial develop a unique spin on the style, they could grow into a formidable band.