Release DetailsLABEL Morbid
RELEASED ON 3/17/2004
Unholy Hate Gore
posted on 5/2004 By:
Bear with me. I travel for my job, and as a result get to experience lots of po-dunk, BFE towns with rat hole bars at restaurants. As I roamed these mobile eyesores, I would generally pick a place at random to eat/have a drink. They always looked shitty, and I expected them to be shitty. However, once in a while, one of these dives would surprise me and have some pretty good food and drinks and I enjoyed myself. Dark Disciple is that shitty looking bar. Upon looking at the band name (and picture), album name, label, cover art and song titles, I had zero expectation for this album, but y’know? They served up a pretty solid time. Now don’t get me wrong, the meal this Maryland outfit serves up you’ve eaten before, but it’s done with a hometown, small kitchen gusto that retains a bit of character - their dish? Death metal, old school death metal. This is musical meat ‘n’ potatoes people, and I’ve certainly had worse.
Delivered with a semi-Swedish sound and pacing, Dark Disciple are unusually restrained compared to their blast-o-rific country mates, and with a dirty, crusty guitar tone, they sound distinctly European rather than the usual Suffo-Morbid-Corpse clones. A less technically proficient and polished Iniquity or Insision with a dash of black metal might be a good reference point. Either way, it’s hateful, grimy and decidedly cheesy, but ultimately acceptable. Of course, the album reeks of second rate unimaginative lyrics and song titles such as “666 Stab Wounds”, “Human Killing Machine”, and “Welcome to Purgatory”, but what are you gonna do? The production is off kilter, as the usual growled/screamed vocals (which incidentally sound far more “real” than the usual ultra low burps) are way too high in the mix, and the guitars while chunky, sound like the amps were covered in phlegm so they don’t quite reach their full ‘Swedish’ potential, as they could have been much more menacing, but in the end it doesn’t sound polished, contrived or Rutan-ified.
The obligatory intro, “Jesus Loves You” leads us into 9 tracks of rudimentary death metal that fills a void, but isn’t the tastiest thing on the menu, however it could also have been a lot worse. “AMEN MUTHA’FUCKER!!!!”, induces a cringe to start “Serving the Priest”, but instead of non stop blast beats, you get some chugging ominous death metal. Not as completely lethargic as Jungle Rot, but surprisingly tempered and mid paced. Sure, Dark Disciple do their ‘blasty’ death/grind thing with plenty of screeching, staccato moments like “Annihilation of the Living” and “Reign of Terror”, but on the whole the album is decidedly comprehensible. Slower moments like “A Thousand Corpses” and the rather effective “Human Killing Machine” are sloppy portions of sewage not dissimilar to Chris Reifert’s many incarnations, but not as psychotic or haunting.
Still, in the grand scheme of things, Dark Disciple is probably a band we don’t really need, but I’m giving this album a fair shake past review purposes. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going on any end of year lists, I guarantee, but it does offer something slightly different to the death metal head jaded with over produced, over polished main stream guided cookie cutter death metal or continual grindcore embolisms.
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