Dysentery Arises

Dysentery Arises

Way back in 1981, when progressive rock titans Dysentery Arises announced they had a vision for a career-spanning nine-album conceptual rock opera, there were few who thought they could actually pull it off. But here they are with Breath of a Fire God From Space, the more than stunning finale to their epic saga.

Like its predecessors, Fire God is a double-disc album clocking in at upwards of two hours, although this time spread out over only four (multi-part) songs. What separates it from the releases before it, however, is the curious omission of the hardbound liner notes containing song lyrics and story explanation. Evidently Dysentery Arises wants listeners to focus on the music and figure out the story of this one on their own. This is not necessarily a detriment to the work as a whole, it just means that it requires more diligent listening than before.

But goodness does such scrutiny pay off! The music of Fire God is layered with so many subtleties, self-references, and pop culture jabs that are simply impossible to pick up on in a first listen. The best way to experience Fire God is to lay down in a dark room without distractions and listen to the album in its entirety seven or eight times in a row. Also, note-taking is essential to keeping track of the story of Fire God and how it fits in with the rest of the Vibrations From Occulan Saga.

Like a true concept-driven piece, Fire God starts off where the previous album (Notions of a Cosmetic Apocalypse) left off. The hero of the saga, known simply as “The Pilgrim” has just escaped from the clutches of the evil Intergalactic Slavery Federation and now must lead a mighty revolution between dimensions to strike down the universe’s oppressors once and for all. Although truthfully, that simple description does not even scratch the surface of what the album is all about. Themes of of freedom, self-actualization, and corporate mismanagement mesh beautifully with a heavy critique on post-industrial society. Unfortunately, this website simply does not have enough bandwidth for me to write up an entire examination of the story of the Occulan Saga, otherwise I would do it with pleasure.

This story is told through lead singer Chet Rucker’s piercing soprano vocals as they soar above mashing guitars and laser sounds. Musically, Dysentery Arises has always been miles above the rest. Here they are no different. Each member of the band is a true virtuoso, and each of them shines as bright as the rest. The long song lengths allow them to fully explore their musical talents, with each member often getting their own solo in every song. Perhaps the best example of this is on disc two, track one “Knight in Shining Pants.” The song moves from a fairly standard verse-chorus structure into a 37-minute keytar solo, followed by an a cappella scat section from Rucker that is truly awe-inspiring.

Now, with a back catalog of eight tightly-interconnected albums, approaching Dysentery Arises for the first time may seem daunting. Hardcore fans undoubtedly know all the intricacies of the saga, and that knowledge is indispensable here on Fire God. Unfortunately to the newcomer all the talk of things such as Corpus the Restituted, trans-vibrational symmetry, and devout shoal imperialism will likely seem wildly confounding. However, I cannot emphasize enough the value of putting in the time to fully listen and appreciate this glorious musical odyssey. With a band of the caliber of Dysentery Arises, it is a worthwhile experience. The entire saga (with the possible exception of album three, Age of Peniston) is an utterly transcendent masterpiece that cannot be missed.


10 out of 10



Disc One:

1. Bulbous Star Crisis

I. Trouble in the Water

II. Storm Pulse

2. Homecoming

I. Wonder Sun

II. Niobe

III. Trouble at the Space Mill

A. War Is Brewing

B. Destitution

IV. Relentless Thievery

V. No More Knives

A. There Used to be Glory

3. Burgers

I. Juicy Lies

 Disc 2:

1. Knight in Shining Pants

I. A Brilliant Heart

II. Keytar

III. Kaytar, Part 2

IV. The Summoning of Doug


Image credits: 1, 2, 3

About The Double Thumb (21 Articles)
The Double Thumb is a publication featuring long-form reviews, serialized columns, and cultural commentary curated by a group of talented yet unstable writers. Our mission is to uncover the heart of an issue and present it to our readers, still beating and squirting blood.

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