Disincarnate – Dreams of the Carrion Kind

disincarnate-dreams_of_the_carrion_kindThe brainchild of James Murphy, a guitar virtuoso who released two instrumental “shred” albums through Shrapnel Records, Disincarnate is in theory an underground metal dream made reality. The band released its one and only album in 1993 on Roadrunner Records. Murphy’s legendary lead guitar work on Obituary’s Cause of Death created the promise of a killer album was in the making, only it was never delivered.

Disincarnate is part of the first wave of post-Human era Death/Cynic bands who were making death metal explicitly play nice with the Headbanger’s Ball and Guitar World audiences under the guise of Floridian rhythmic death metal. This watered-down death metal was designed to appeal to the casual Pantera and Chaos A.D. metal fans of the time. On Dreams of the Carrion Kind, song structures are simple and pop-oriented, reminiscent of an 80s speed metal act like Exodus, which is a riff salad without themes developing within it.

“Monarch of the Sleeping Marshes,” the best composition on the album, fails to capture its surprisingly elaborate lyrical concept, impeding upon the momentum of its inspired introductory riffcraft with an awkward pause after the chorus to make way for an incongruous bridge of generic Benediction mosh fare. Other tracks like “Soul Erosion” and “Deadspawn” sound like Brutality playing along to bouncy Fear Factory/Pantera chugging fare with death metal vocals and lyrics adapted around that framework, no doubt in a vain attempt to bridge two trends from the era. At best, it could be compared to a lowbrow version of the first half of Resurrection’s Embalmed Existence.

James Murphy’s dextrous playing and the early Roadrunner Records connection would make this seem innocent, but don’t be fooled. This release is cleverly disguised as something profound but is no more advanced than Benediction’s Transcend the Rubicon. It isn’t awful to the point where you would rather swan dive into a wood chipper, but the overly bluesy doom riffs and the grooved out relaxed tempos of tremolo riffs in cyclical song structures that break for a “guitar hero” solo suggests this band as having the confused character of something that wants to be morbid and sinister, but also pander to the Dimebag Darrell worshipers of that era.

While some of the wiser among us would simply dismiss this as not up to par with other releases in its genre, on closer inspection, this album alongside Malevolent Creation’s Retribution and Obituary’s The End Complete in addition to Roadrunner Records vast distribution network assisted in streamlining death metal into a more rock centric style that allowed the Gutted/Kataklysm mosh fare with flashy distraction breaks to become an Ozzfest/Hot Topic mainstay in the 2000s.

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8 thoughts on “Disincarnate – Dreams of the Carrion Kind

  1. Alastair says:

    I remember this when it came out. Totally disappointing. Not only was James Murphy on it but Dave McKean did the artwork.

    I’d expected much more from this. To me James Murphy was also the guitarist on Spiritual Healing. Still one of my favourite albums and this was drivel. But by then Death had done Human, so I should have seen it coming.

    Death metal was rapidly disappearing up its own arse.

  2. ksava says:

    In total agreement, but I still enjoy Retribution.

  3. Spork says:

    I don’t mind the idea of death metal with melodic trad-metal inspired shreddy guitar work, it’s just that the second Sentenced album is more or less what it should be rather than this. I guess it’s an okay album if you wanna get someone generally used to OSDM but it might end up leading more towards 3deep5u “prawg”/”teyuk” deth instead.

  4. larry says:

    you guys are fucking stupid this album is bad ass!!!! if your a fucking poser dont write death metal reviews!!!

  5. bitterman says:

    I was always mad that I bought this album’s reissue based on the James Murphy hype, but I should have seen the warning signs. First, the cover art was stupid. Second, the liner notes by Monte Conner was expected label ass kissing (still pointless), but the overblown praise from that EMO in Killswitch Engage is all that’s needed to know it’s bad. This album was just so bland that it might be the perfect snapshot of death metal for 1993: going downhill. Maybe stuff like Left Hand Path was a “happy accident” in the minds of people who really wanted to fit into a mainstream niche, so it’s no wonder Disincarnate was dead and buried when James Murphy had an opportunity to join Konkhra and Testament during their 1990s “groove metal” periods once death metal was no longer in vogue. He may have been on some cool albums (Cause of Death and Spiritual Healing) and he is a talented guitarist, but left to his own devices he never produced anything other than uneventful turds (his solo albums were lame). Maybe the leads are well written, but they sound like the generic fodder any other “shredder” could have come up with, and it’s sandwiched between boring bullshit.

  6. Assburgers Forall says:

    Wow this album is pretty awesome! If Prozak enjoys Gutted then I can indulge myself in this guilty pleasure…

  7. Carg says:

    Benediction are way better than this shit (i.e. actually listenable).

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