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Disma - Towards the Megalith

Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 16, 2011, 11:54:27 AM
Let me preface this:

(a) In the music industry, you cannot both be honest and successful. The entire industry is calibrated to reward "friendships" which ignore product quality, which is why (1) ranks are closed and (2) they always get caught by surprise when holding a turd. Hollywood and other highly social industries are the same way.

(b) The entire old school cheering squad wants to love this one. I hate cheering squads, because they are also oblivious to reality. If you want to defend the old school, you want to defend its COMPETITIVE heights of musical power, not pro-forma incarnations.

A brief review:

This album exists on two levels, aesthetics and composition. Aesthetically, it's a smooth blend of Demigod, Entombed and early NYDM. Compositionally, it's closer to Death and early Amorphis.

These songs are basically two riffs, with a few alternates that are mostly the same notes played in a different order and rhythm, although the occasional optional promenade conclusion appears. Riffs follow the pattern of middle-era Death: big intervals zooming up the scale, then chromatic fills that really hammer home a basic rhythm. Motifs borrowed (especially from Slumber of Sullen Eyes and Clandestine) frost that cake.

Craig Pillard's vocals are awesome but the rather boxy time signatures don't give him much to work with.

This sort of scratches the underground death metal itch, but only when it's on in the background. There is too much here that is random, blocky, OBVIOUS or confused.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 17, 2011, 04:50:46 AM
After an initial listening at 7 AM and gratuitous amounts of coffee I would have disagreed with you, yet repeated (and caffeine sober) listening has brought me to the same conclusion. The one positive of the album is the inclusion of the demo material, which I have grown fond of.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 17, 2011, 06:54:32 PM
The one positive of the album is the inclusion of the demo material, which I have grown fond of.

Me too. The album itself is a B/B- effort, not awful but just boring; the demo songs retain their relative power.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 17, 2011, 09:14:11 PM
These songs are basically two riffs, with a few alternates that are mostly the same notes played in a different order and rhythm, although the occasional optional promenade conclusion appears. Riffs follow the pattern of middle-era Death: big intervals zooming up the scale, then chromatic fills that really hammer home a basic rhythm.

Pretty sure you were just listening to the new Cianide album by mistake, boss.

Drop the Jenkem
July 18, 2011, 07:43:23 AM
I listened to it almost 10 times and i can't really see how this is obvious, confused or boring (though it is sometimes 'blocky'). The Demigod influence is also awesome.
There is a subtlety here that is not present in the rest of the new "Old School Death Metal" bands mentioned somewhere in this forum.
Overall, far better than anything Blaspherian, Cruciamentum and Dead Congregation ever done.

Re: Drop the Jenkem
July 18, 2011, 11:36:33 AM
Overall, far better than anything Blaspherian, Cruciamentum and Dead Congregation ever done.
This does not equate into a feather in one's cap. Just because you did something better than a horde of obnoxious morons doesn't immediately gold-plate your efforts.

Re: Drop the Jenkem
July 18, 2011, 03:07:58 PM
Pretty sure you were just listening to the new Cianide album by mistake, boss.

Are we in Jamaica all of a sudden? If that's the case, find me some jenk and weed, thanks!!!

I listened to it almost 10 times and i can't really see how this is obvious, confused or boring (though it is sometimes 'blocky').

Overall, far better than anything Blaspherian, Cruciamentum and Dead Congregation ever done.

Better than Dead Congregation, not hard. DC have a great style but the songs don't hold up. Like Anael or Teitanblood.

The problem with Disma is that it has lost focus. These songs are blocky, the riffs are totally derivative and musically obvious, and the song devleopment is minimal. They're onto something great but this is a step back from the demo. I don't care who's on vocals.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 19, 2011, 09:19:06 AM
I will confess, I have not had time to listen through the whole disc yet - but even based upon the several songs I have digested, I really just do not hear what Conservationist does.  Still, I'm reserving final judgement, as my opinion is admittedly incomplete thus far, but perhaps I am hopelessly biased by that "closed ranks" mentality...age does that to a man.  .
 

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 19, 2011, 08:26:22 PM
I was only half-joking with that Cianide statement. I'm really not hearing the "basically two riffs" on any of the songs, new or otherwise. Seems to me that most of the songs work with about three or four "sets" of riffs (for more info on that concept, see the DLA interview with Averse Sefira) with connecting sections (sometimes they leave out the connectors for dramatic emphasis during transitions). Each of those sets fully explores various textural and melodic variations, i.e. one guitar dropping out and playing an accompanying chug riff ala Slayer's "Necrophilia", or one guitar overlaying a swaying melodic tremolo riff in a manner that reminds me of the first At the Gates EP.

There is quite a few times where they will use this swaying tremolo technique to presage a new riffset; after that initial introduction of the melody, they'll drop it an octave lower or so to initiate the new riffset. There's also a lot of calling back to previous riffsets within new ones, which helps to link each song component together to create a single song entity. The emphasis here is not only on what riffs are played, but how those ideas are communicated: this album successfully melds the complex riffage of USDM with the heavily textural feel of old Eurodeath. I'd say that it makes an excellent companion for the Blaspherian album released earlier this year, in that they both work with a similar idea, just using slightly different approaches (Blaspherian has more of that old Demoncy/Havohej thing going on with a lot of blasting tremolo sections, whereas Disma seem to have fully shifted into death/doom with their new full-length).

All things considered, I'd say that this album is an essential purchase for the discerning metalhead, and it holds its own against such classics of the genre as Morpheus Descends, Dismember, and the Crypt of Kerberos demos.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 21, 2011, 12:46:23 AM
New Jersey "Hessian Saturday" field trip to see Disma if anyone is interested. We're Train-Pooling it to the city after a brief meet up. Send me and PM or something. I haven't listened to the album yet, but this isn't the first time I've seen reviews of the album's lackluster, uninventive or faux-oldschool tendencies. The general mood amongst my cohorts seems to be a shoulder-shrug opposed to a full-blown facepalm. I'm not sure what "boxy" time signatures means, but I'm assuming because of the context clues that its very static. THAT seems to me like it must limit Pillard's frame of reference when it comes to vocal duties consider that Incantation was notorious for changing time in a near psychotic way.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 24, 2011, 03:06:26 AM
More like Towards the Megadick, right?

This album seems to be part of a larger pattern of "old-school death metal" that has been emerging for x number of years.  First there were all those terrible reformations, then those terrible attempts at reclaiming the aesthetic, and now a group of bands who have some clue as to what they are doing.  The trend is upwards, so I have hope for the future.  More likely, it'll all just crash and burn.  Let's see how it goes.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
July 31, 2011, 01:06:52 PM
Ah I need to know if there is anyone here who knows of good death metal venues in Philly. I was looking up Hellfest but I heard it was canceled this year. I would love to go to shows and meet some hessians and teach those hipsters a lesson! Haha my wife says she can not stand them because they bitch about "hard times', all because their rich parents ignored them. Very true and they are weak..

I live in Collingswood, but I know Mortal Decay was from Audubon, but I have not listened to much of the catalog so I am clueless...

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
August 05, 2011, 08:54:59 PM
Just to let you guys now, Disma's new album is still awesome several weeks in. This statement from the DLA describes why I enjoy the album so much better than I ever could: "Oddly, however, these songs are designed in layers that like herringbone gears distribute their energy at angles, finally bringing the dominant theme into combat against the remnants of energy bled off by the meshing of teeth. If it suggests an artistic theme, it is the death of clarity as it is overwhelmed by that which is not in focus -- the extraneous, the tangential, the details, the entropy -- as they take its place in a shifting of power." This facet of their songwriting is brought into focus even more on the full-length.

Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
August 06, 2011, 08:10:32 AM
I've now had time to really absorb the whole album and I believe it is outstanding! The somewhat oppressive production perfectly suits this style of death/doom, the guitar/bass sound is enormous and Pillard is in perfect voice here. There is nothing whatever "boring" about this release to me. The demo songs fit along side the others well - the whole listening experience was just what I had hoped it would be honestly.

Going to have to disagree entirely on this one - I think Disma has created something genuinely interesting - not groundbreaking mind(I didn't expect they would) - but truly interesting throughout...which is a lot more than I can say for any release(even many I like a great deal) I've heard in some time.


Re: Disma - Towards the Megalith
August 09, 2011, 01:37:49 AM
I actually didn't like this at first. After about 6 listens the way the riffs fit together just clicked for me and since then I've been listening to it multiple times almost every day. I find it to be pretty brilliant.

And of course the album that finally outdoes the vocals from Onward to Golgotha has Craig Pillard in it.