The Porcelain Throne: Disembodied
Before we get into this edition of PT by the excellent Ron Deuce, you may (but probably not) have noticed my total absence from the comments section. Unfortunately, my office “upgraded” their web filter, and it now “blocks” the chat feature of this site. I can still read comments, but they show up looking like a stripped down .txt file. I still incessantly read every post, but my days of commenting have slowed greatly. Regardless, please enjoy this heaviest edition of PT, and according to Deuce, one of the heaviest bands ever.
When fans of heavy music get together and start discussing it, one topic that is almost always sure to come up is that of “the heaviest band you ever heard”. If you are having that discussion and Disembodied isn’t in it, then you need to start including them. Hailing from Minneapolis, the band played a brand of metallic hardcore that was influenced by Sepultura with some hints of Slayer and even Korn. But this is not of the “Jump Da Fuck Up” variety, it’s more of the “cave your skull in” variety. Their sound consists of down tuned guitars, catchy riffs, and a knack for crafty songwriting. Tying it all together are vocals that switch from throaty screams to spoken word. The music even had some sludgy aspects to it, but when Disembodied was around, that sub genre wasn’t even coined yet. Unfortunately their discography is limited, but what they left behind is some of the most crushing stuff ever put to tape.
Disembodied’s 1st album laid the foundation for what would shape the band’s sound. The opening track showcases a tactic that Disembodied uses quite often. The guitar playing features the use of what I call the noise chord. For a point of reference, some of the guitar work on Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. and Roots, and countless other bands in hardcore were using these noisy phrasings as well during the late 90’s and into the early 2000’s. The first track “Anvil Chandelier” starts off with some pounding drums over the aforementioned noise chords as the vocals employ the spoken word strategy before the tempo picks up and gives way to wild screams over some windmill inducing grooves that are tailor made for mosh pits.
If Only God Knew the Rest Were Dead EP (1998)
Disembodied followed up their 1st album with an EP, and the five tracks on this recording are far superior to anything on Diablerie. The opening track “Heroin Fingers” starts with a haunting clean guitar intro that sounds like it was pulled straight out of Slayer’s South Of Heaven. This is accompanied by some spoken word, but it’s not long before those down-tuned guitars make their presence known courtesy of a more sleek metallic production that suits the recording well. From that point on, you know you are about to be grabbed by the throat and suffocated to death by the weight of Disembodied’s heaviness. Those noisy guitar chord phrasing show up again and Disembodied starts pounding away. The second track “Bloodshed Reigns” continues the onslaught with a crushing yet simple and catchy main riff that dares you not to bob your head along while mouthing angsty words and finger pointing in approval. This entire EP is a great starting point for someone who wants to get a feel for Disembodied’s discography, so just jam the whole thing right here.
Oxymoron EP (1999)
This EP was a split with Erie, PA’s Brother’s Keeper. Disembodied’s contributed three songs: two originals and an excellent cover of Quicksand’s “Dine Alone”, which they converted into their style. The highlight of this EP is the second track “Obfuscate”, which is easily one of their best songs. Again, you’ll hear the noisy guitar chords scattered throughout as they make their way to song’s climax, which treats the listener to a double dose of breakdown fury to close out the song. The breakdown mayhem begins with a Slayer influenced galloping riff which tricks the listener into thinking the drums will follow suit. The drums come in at half tempo instead, accompanied by screamed vocals, and will have you putting on your mesh basketball shorts in no time. But they don’t stop there. Disembodied transitions from the Slayer influenced riff into a sludgy breakdown that is nothing short of devastating. Just about every single deathcore band tries to pile on the breakdowns like this, but they don’t come close to executing it with the tact and ferocity that Disembodied does.
Two great EPs had fans thirsting for a full length. This album was a culmination of all their previous recordings, and you could hear them start to fine tune their songwriting while maintaining their core influences. You could definitely hear the Slayer influence begin to become more prominent, but Disembodied never played at those speeds which helped add another dimension to their style. There’s no shortage of Sepultura worship here either as Disembodied employs those influences quite often as well. Unfortunately, they had already called it quits by the time the album was released, so no tour for the album ever occurred. The track “Nemesis” is a nice taste of all those influences coming together with a Sepultura sounding intro, coupled with their frequently used noise chords, some Slayer influenced clean guitar interludes, and even a little bit of Korn towards the end. (But remember – no “Jump Da Fuck Up.”)
Following their breakup, members of Disembodied went on to form Martyr A.D., which had some elements of Disembodied’s sound, but leaned more towards Slayer and speedier songs. The band reunited in 2010 and started writing some new material that ended up never getting recorded due to them calling it quits. It is a shame because the song “Caveat” that they played live sounded every bit as good as their recorded output. I would love to hear a band come out and just do some full on Disembodied worship. Others, such as Code Orange and Xibalba, bear some resemblances but there has yet to be a carbon copy. Perhaps another reunion will take place and some new music will be recorded. In the meantime, go tell all your friends you just heard about the heaviest band ever on some blog.
Now that Ron has finally broken ground on the heavy side for the PT, you are welcome to join (or fight back with more prog) by checking out The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines.