Towards the Megalith
posted on 7/2011 By:
It looks like the battle between style and substance rages on. With the apparent hibernation of many tech-death torchbearers, the resurgence of ugly death metal bands seems to have reached quite a high, and Disma takes measures to level everything in its path. The voice of the man fronting this act should be familiar to most: Craig Pillard is responsible for laying down some corrosive vocals for the fathers of all this racket, Incantation, as well as making notable appearances in Womb, Goreaphobia, and Evoken, to name a few. But as much weight as Pillard’s name might carry, his fellow bandmates have also spent time in Incantation, Methadrone, and some are currently also part of Funebrarum, so be assured, they are not new to this rodeo. Together the quintet takes heaviness to startling extremes with their Profound Lore debut, Towards The Megalith.
As for style, Disma has got the murk and filth thing down pat. They launch into faster The Infernal Storm-type thrashing occasionally, but the majority of these tracks are based around very simple, uncomplicated raw riffs that moan like unrushed dirges, yet never drag. We’re subjected to many one-note downpicked chugs, swarming tremolos, judicious blastbeats, and of course, one of the most caustic vocalists in death metal roaring and growling coldly with no regard for anything remotely catchy. In fact, this isn’t really a very catchy album. The riffs are copious, and sometimes extremely repetitive, but never to the point of monotony. In comparison to current labelmates Vasaeleth, for example, the murk is less impenetrable than the absolute blackness of the ruthlessly dense Crypt Born, And Tethered To Ruin. “Lost In The Burial Fog” comes close to Witchrist by way of various uptempo interludes, but “Chasm of Oceanus” sounds exactly like its title implies, with crawling and turbulent riffs interspersed with hefty chunky downpicking courtesy of co-founding guitarists Bill Venner and Daryl Kahan. The rhythm section of ex-Methradrone bassist Randy Stokes and Funebrarum drummer Shawn Eldridge makes quite the thundering combination, although they're somewhat hampered by a hollow, tinny snare tone. Regardless, these eight tunes are still as burly as the gentlemen who perform them, and I can’t imagine the torture their amps must go through.
Now, when you want to talk about substance, things get a little bit uncertain here and there. It’s a no-brainer to see that Disma is not an insincere act just judging by their other projects, so there is a genuine authenticity that shows very boldly in their songs. But really, if you threw this on shuffle with all the bands I’ve already mentioned, along with a touch of Hooded Menace and Father Befouled, it all turns into the same shade of nasty. Luckily, they have an edge in the songwriting department that manages to set them slightly apart from their peers, but it’s not too far of a walk. The ponderous weight of “Purulent Quest” and “Of A Past Forlorn” colors the impression that these songs make to the point where it’s hard to discern if the songs are that good, or if the unbelievable heaviness of the entire presentation clouds faults within. This also isn’t a disc that needs a hell of a lot of digestion, because it shows its hand right from the onset and leaves no room for interpretation. Blunt, gnarly, and rife with deep groove, Megalith will wear you the fuck out, but you also might not know exactly what hit you when you finally catch your breath.
As per the genre, Disma’s interpretation pushes no boundaries as far as innovation (which is fine), and it offers very little surprise factor. If you’re not into this kind of death metal, there’s not much here that will win you over, but if you appreciate honesty and raw veteran determination to achieve excess, then you will not be found wanting after Towards The Megalith annihilates you all the way to its calamitous end. Very enjoyable, and well-done for what it is.
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