Monday, July 7, 2014

Disincarnate - Dreams of the Carrion Kind (1993)

I never understood why James Murphy chose to abandon his baby in favor of playing second fiddle to Eric Peterson in Testament. Actually, I do understand but I don't know why he couldn't keep the project alive and/or on the side at the very least. Whispers from the rumor-mill suggest that a second onslaught from Disincarnate is imminent but with Murphy's health always in question it wouldn't be a bad idea not to hold your breath until the occasion manifests.

In many ways Disincarnate have always reminded me of Immolation. The guitar sound is damn near identical and both band's have a knack for writing evil, tremolo based riff onslaughts not to mention the fact that both bands also do not skimp out on adding in whole sections drenched in doom. Lastly, Brian Cegon is virtually Ross Dolan's vocal doppleganger. There's even a fade out growl at the end of 'Soul Erosion' that is suspiciously reminiscent of the one at the beginning of 'After my Prayers' on 'Dawn of Possession'. Now don't get me wrong. I am not accusing Murphy & Co. of "ripping off" Immolation, but the similarities are there and trust me, I am 100% A-O-fucking-K with that. Overall, I think it's safe to say that Disincarnate are in possession of the greater arsenal out of the two bands as Murphy throws an infinite amount of trickery and technique at the listener, no doubt a result of being one of the metal scene's most formidable guitarists.

I remember being fairly surprised that Murphy had chosen a veritable band of nobodies to fill the ranks of Disincarnate. I figured with all of his clout he'd have gone for at least a brand-name or two. Turns out ol' James knew what he was doing as the rest of the band were more than capable of handling their business. I won't say that any of the other guys were doing anything particularly "mindblowing" but the performances rendered from each musician is as competent as one could imagine. Flawless, even.

Aside from James' almost peculiar knack for penning an exceptional tune, the lyrics have always stood out to me as being a highlight, not only for the band but for the whole of death metal as a genre dating back to the early/mid-'80's. In the last decade or so I've pretty much given up on death metal lyrics as I couldn't care any less about "putrid piles of disgorged devourment" or any other such nonsense but in those early formative years I was delighted by the wordplay of bands such as Carcass and Morbid Angel. The lyrics on 'Dreams of the Carrion Kind' are among the most intelligent and fascinating to behold.

Throughout the years many chumps that regard themselves as some sort of "authority" on things death metal loudly regard '91 as being the last year of great death metal. Bullshit. Not only was death metal alive and well in '93 but many bands were creating their "magnum opuses" during that year (Carcass 'Heartwork', Macabre 'Sinister Slaughter', Morbid Angel 'Covenant', etc...) and Disincarnate were no exception. They not only managed to create an album of technical marvel but one that was evenly tempered with a horrific atmosphere to boot. If this was merely the band's debut... imagine what they would do next! Yeah, keep dreaming.

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