Tech Death Thursday: Disentomb – The Decaying Light
It’s time for some big boy tech death.
Ye Olde Toileteers will likely recall the excitement swirling around Disentomb’s 2014 album, Misery. It wasn’t hyped without reason, either; it’s a train I only just jumped on, but that album is a monster. By this point, you’ve probably already listened to their newest one- the stream has been up for a couple days- but even so, I can’t help but add my voice to the chorus singing this album’s praises. And if you haven’t heard it yet, well, you’re in for a ride.
The Decaying Light is going to draw a lot of comparison from the usual “big” death metal bands- Immolation, Suffocation, middle to late Morbid Angel, and so on. In the realm of tech death, it’s more akin to heavy-hitters such as Abhorrent and Defeated Sanity, with a dash of that hazy open chord Ulcerate style of dissonance. The mixture of influences results in a raw display of power and majesty, far more refined and precise than many of their brutal-death-leaning peers.
But if this talk of dissonance and brutal death metal makes your stomach turn, fear not! Disentomb is far more palatable than their spidery logo might suggest, as the aforementioned bands are less one-to-one points of comparison and more of companions in spirit. The meat of The Decaying Light is in thick downtuned riffing with the same frenetic energy as Abhorrent, but it’s much less chaotic in structure. Ulcerate’s penchant for atmosphere is undeniable, but if you’re put off by their harsh note choice, you’ll enjoy the tense but melodic breaks that punctuate each passage. I know this is one cliche that I use quite a lot, but this album’s sound is well and truly massive, and that cover art perfectly fits the tone it sets:
The music conjures images of blasted landscapes and lumbering stone behemoths, unstoppable monsters in an eternal march across the wasteland. It’s a tempestuous dirge, the feeling of impending doom ever-present amidst the swirling aural storms. Successfully purveying this kind of feeling in such complex and precise compositions is a feat in and of itself, not to mention the band’s instrumental execution.
If there’s any one thing that can really be said against this album, it’s that the front half of it can start to blur together a bit if you’re not giving it your undivided attention. The first six songs are all fairly similar in tempo and structure, and it’s easy to miss the subtle variations in motifs and themes if you’re just giving it a casual listen. That said, each song is paced extremely well; the slower breaks come in at just the right times, and it all flows together effortlessly. Once you get to “The Great Abandonment,” you’ll be treated to more variety from song to song, including some delightfully doomy tunes that really drive home that feeling of dread.
The Decaying Light is one of those albums that reminds me why I love death metal. It’s big and heavy, smart without being too cerebral, and easy to throw on and just jam out to. It’s one of those all-encompassing albums that will draw in fans from across the death metal spectrum to revel in the devastation. Do yourself a favor and pick it up when it releases tomorrow. That’s all for now, and until next time,