Review Summary: A vicious combination of death and doom, Disembowelment's first and only album is not only one of the biggest influences of the doom genre today, but a superb album overall.
To think of Disembowelment’s debut album, Transcendence Into The Peripheral
, as groundbreaking, is an understatement. Think one part death metal, one part doom, a knack for oppressive music, and you have the bare essentials of what this album is. Raw and punishingly brutal, Disembowelment left their mark on doom metal with this single album, their only full length. Its impact on the genre is immense. At the time, death/doom was already brewing but was for the most part reasonably tame (at least compared to Disembowelment), and funeral doom was not really in full flight, with Thergothon yet to come. As much praise as Thergothon receives, it would be unfair not to give a similar blessing to the guys behind Disembowelment. They may have not fully characterized the funeral doom sub-genre as Thergothon did, but they sure set the stone rolling.
If one were to label this album anything short of ‘absolutely fu
cking crushing’, you would be doing Disembowelment a great injustice. Transcendence Into The Peripheral
is a stark and sparse breed of death metal, intertwining with slow, bludgeoning riffs; seemingly incompatible, but seamlessly pulled off. Furthermore, cold and invasive clean guitar lines revoke any hopes of relief, played along with harsh and somewhat out of place drumming. Dissonance is perhaps the single word that encapsulates Transcendence Into The Peripheral
; a combination of things that, on paper, look unlikely to be successful, but as you will find out from this album, collude in a way that is both jaw-breaking in its heaviness and pants-shi
tting in its atmosphere. Opener ‘The Tree of Life and Death’ exemplifies this so called dissonance fusing together all of the aforementioned elements. The album’s intensity drops a little after such a forceful track, but picks up again later on. ‘A Burial at Ornans’ is not only a defining moment for the whole concept of doom, but a vicious assault of a song. What separates Transcendence Into The Peripheral
from any of its death/doom contemporaries is that it has no regard for melody. While other bands were striving to create sorrowful music through the dual influence of death and doom, Disembowelment focuses on the anger and hatred of brutal death metal and then mixes in an apocalyptic sensation, giving the album a foreboding gleam that shines out through its grit.
Speaking of grit, the production on Transcendence Into The Peripheral
is about as raw as the thighs of a Tour de France rider. Production is merely a means to an ends; it all works in favour of creating a crushing atmosphere of aggression. The drumming is remarkably pervasive, each crash reverberating between your ears. This effect is exacerbated by the band’s tendency to use this abrasive form of drumming constantly, especially when the clean guitar lines are played. The vocals comprise of gutturals and raspy screams, which simply bob up and down through wave after wave of riffs. Renato Gallina’s roars, as the drums crash and the guitars come to life, are truly frightening, and complement further the standard that Disembowelment have set for their successors. Not to give credit to this album for its influence on metal would be undermining the whole genre, which unfortunately is the case with Transcendence Into The Peripheral
, judging from its relative obscurity. This can be remedied however; go get this album right now, and prepare to realise that this album packs far more of a punch than you could ever imagine.