Album: The Decaying Light
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Review by: Prarthana Venunathan
In what has already been a phenomenally mental year for the world of metal and the like, Brisbane’s sloom lords DISENTOMB come slamming through with their latest release after five long years. The follow-up to their last record ‘Misery’ can very simply be described as music that is so fantastically heavy, there is likely to be a ‘continental drift’ if you will, of your organs; and that’s putting it lightly. Renowned for their blood-curdling brutal style, the four-piece act continue to show no mercy churning out new tunes that redefine the ridiculous intensity of brutal death metal as we know it, bringing with them what is possibly one of the heaviest records you’ll hear this year.
Trust me when I say, you will be sucked in like a mortal soul for Satan, from the moment your ears take in the progressively crushing build-up of ‘Collapsing Skies’ with its haunting, atmospheric vibe. Straight away, you receive a taste of what’s to come, but only just. Following this comes the ‘Your Prayers Echo into Nothingness’ hammers relentlessly into the depths of your skull and rightly so as it also features Matti Way of Pathology, Abominable Putridity and Disgorge fame. What stands out in an instant is the tight as hell production, allowing to feel the flawlessness of every blast and riff.
While it is a relatively long album, every track has it’s stand out moments which makes ‘The Decaying Light’ an immensely satisfying listen. Whether its vocalist Jordan’s crushing guttural tones on tracks like ‘Centuries of Deluge’ or the groove-laden fury of ‘Indecipherable Sermons of Gloom’, music that is sure to have your neck in blissful windmill-ed agony. The title track follows in the same vein proving just how well they make that impressive combination of slower driving rhythms and bludgeoning death metal moments work so perfectly together. I could also, honestly go on and on about Henri Sison’s incredible drumming that really seems to be a backbone if you will, to the music. There are moments initially where your brain starts to make that comparison with previous records and whether this album is as heavy or raw as ‘old’ Disentomb. But that inkling of a thought soon fades away when you begin to realise how the band have just evolved with a more polished sound, establishing themselves with a style that can be classified as theirs.
A real highlight on ‘The Decaying Light’ for me, comes through about midway with ‘The Great Abandonment’ which is, albeit, more of a crushing ‘interlude’ of sorts if you can call it that. Being the shortest track on the album, it doesn’t compromise on sound in any way, reminding you of that ‘sloom’ vibe; those stupidly brilliant kicks, mid-tempo drone and killer vocals which then leads into the sudden rhythmic bursts of melody that continue on ‘Dredged into Existence’ and ‘The Droning Monolith’. Keeping the aural assault going hard with what I can only now describe as magnificent, the latter kicks up the mid-tempo riffage a notch higher while ‘Dredged into Existence’ boasts an absolutely satisfying display of technicality, melody and groove. New bassist Adrian Cappeletti is an absolute machine who brings so much weight to every track with beefy and hectic basslines that grip you by the throat every time you hear them.
At this point, it is of utmost importance that we take a moment to appreciate just how absolutely sick these track titles are ‘Dismal Liturgies’, ‘Invocation in the Cathedral of Dust’ – all of them! Not only do they represent the gargantuan tones and depth of the music but thematically as well, the obvious disdain for organised religion namely Christianity drips off of not just the track titles but the songs itself, reflect the band’s thoughts quite passionately; something that makes the music just that much more intense when you really tune in.
As we come to the end of the record with the morose sounds of ‘Rebirth Through Exorciation’ ‘Withering’ proves to be an unpredictable yet incredibly perfect, eerie album closer, an outro that will drag every emotion out of you and then leave it dangling in front of your face, that would essentially be my description of the whole album if I had to put it in a few words. But I’m not because you cannot describe an album such as this in minimal language. While I can’t help but feel that the album longer than I’d like for any album to be, I continue to argue with myself on the fact that it doesn’t really compromise on the band’s sound, but maybe on just the potential of every song to really come through.
Five years on, Disentomb prove how ridiculously dark, heavy and in ways bold, their music is not to mention the fact that this album undoubtedly exhibits the band’s most mature and evolved sound to date. A niche of heavy music that can be identified as a sound that is unmistakably theirs is a huge milestone; and with ‘The Decayling Light’, Disentomb has created a work of art that does not in any way compromise on the monstrous brutal style while stepping into newer realms and experimenting. It represents a powerful step forward for a band that has been around for ten years, an absolute face-melter of an experience for anyone that dares to listen to it.
9 out of 10.
The Decaying Light is out now on EVP Recordings - Buy or stream your copy now.