Friday, August 19, 2011

Disma - Towards the Megalith (2011)

Full Length, Profound Lore Records

It is pretty apparent that the old school death metal revival is on a boom these days.  The activities of certain bands producing cryptic death metal in the vein of the ancient deathlords were on a high ever since the last five years or so but now it seems to be spreading like an epidemic. Now that doesn't mean that every band falling under this so called ''neo old school'' or ''retro'' death metal cult has to be praiseworthy. A lot of them do not go well in my books for being pale apparitions of the original harnessers of this grotesque aural art.

Albeit when you talk about a congregation of veterans from acts like Incantation, Funebrarum, Abazagorath etc., you get a strong idea that there is something serious going on. This unholy congregation (anti)christened as Disma, grabbed my attention two years back when I was enlightened about their debut demo ''The Vault of Membros''. I grew ecstatic because they were spearheaded by one of my favorite vocalists - the colossal Craig Pillard! Does that name ring a bell? Of course it does,  if you worship Incantation's monolithic albums ''Onward to Golgotha'' and ''Mortal Throne of Nazarene''! Disma was the brainchild of Daryl Kahan (Funebrarum) and Bill Venner (Ex-Incantation) whose love for the old Finnish death metal sound compelled him to embark yet another profane journey on the paths of doom. Not only the sound but even the band name reeks of Finnish death metal! Dismal+Xysma = Disma. Mathematics could be fun sometimes, isn't it?

Their debut full length ''Towards the Megalith'' uncorks a massively heavy and deranged slab of cavernous and putrid old school death/doom, coming right from the chasms of hell! remember how much I loved the raw and sludgy sound of the demo but this little monster here has surpassed every fucking thing! The guitars are low tuned beyond belief, almost to G if I remember and boy, they emanate such a thick wall of pumelling sounds!

This album is certainly not a wank fest for the trigger friendly ears but a punishing lesson of true, barbaric death metal. The kind of sound which the album has captured is very much reminiscent of the Finnish gems like Rippikoulu, Disgrace, Xysma, Convulse etc. but much heavier and sewer drenched at times. Craig's vocal delivery is absolutely inhumane and exceedingly brutal as expected. You can imagine how an ancient demon would roar on the lesser mortals once he is awakened after years of slumber. Randi's bass lines are equally low tuned and brutal like the dual guitar onslaughts of Daryl and Bill and they have been instrumental in weaving a maze of ominous sounds.

As far the drumming is concerned, it is very well delivered by Shawn who has already proven his mettle with Funebrarum and does nothing less on this record also. Since most of the album is mid paced, there aren't 10,000 blast beats to be found here although there are a few faster double bass/blast sections to be found. The drum sound is very much in accordance to the guitar and bass mix and gives an equally heavy and crunchy feeling to one's ears. I love how he has also employed some sweet crusty, d-beats which sound so headbangable, while flowing with the brutal guitars and vocal passages. Impressive performances!

Towards the Megalith certainly doesn't bring anything new to the platter but this was never their intention either. I am never going to be worried about any sort of progressions or creative inventions as far as this style of putrid old school death metal is concerned because it is meant to be enjoyed as a subtle and primitive style. Disma have provided a good example of creating an enjoyable and worthy death/doom record which doesn't go bland and monotonous as some of the bands in this genre could get after a few plays. Tracks like ''Chasm of Oceanus'', ''Vault of Membros'' and ''Spectral Domination'' provide a good reference of what I am talking about. And oh, the spectacular cover art also acts a great element in defining the purpose and feel of the album while not simply being yet another Moyen rip-off b/w painting.

Grab this album if you are a fellow old school death/doom afficianado and also have an admiration for the other parties these gentlemen are engaged with. Now I would like to quote these fantastic lyrics of the title track ''Towards the Megalith'' to conclude this review because they highlight the essence of this album in a few sentences.

''Towards the Megalith...
Among the last vestiges of humanity
to survive in broken ruins
Paths of smoldering, twisted steel
The refuge has become a tomb
A colony without hope
Torn from the womb of life
To exist in desolation
Congregation of the damned
Of the damned...''

Rating: 8.5/10
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