Review Summary: Metalcore from the days of yore.
Bands constantly try and outdo one another. Be it speed, technicality or heaviness, it’s a game of one-upping. Take heaviness, for example. Ever since Korn put rubber bands on their guitars and jangled them around, bands have detuning their guitars to be heavier and heavier. This usually ends up sounding like garbage (Emmure, Liferuiner) or what’s called “floppy-string disease”. However, back in the mid-90s a band called Disembodied achieved said heaviness without sounding like a bunch of bros.
Having once laying claim to being the heaviest band in hardcore, Disembodied just might live up to the title. Their somewhat thrash-infused super heavy hardcore in drop G(!) helped lay the groundwork for the breakdown-laden metalcore of today. At no point however, does the band delve into a driving Melodeath style gallop commonly found in today’s metalcore acts. Most of the songs are at mid-tempo or slower with quicker thrash parts. It doesn’t quite get to sludge territory, but slowness may drive away listeners of quicker, punkier hardcore.
While most bands trying to achieve maximum heaviness opt for “brutal” sounding faux-death metal vocals, Disembodied keep with a harsh shout/spoken word vocal delivery. It works well with the music and helps convey the emotion portrayed by the music. Lyrically, the album deals with a lot of darker issues including suicide, morality and religion. Of course there is the ever occurring theme in hardcore of relationships, in this case, mostly failed. The fallouts that have been experienced had a pretty profound effect on the songwriting as made apparent by songs like “One for the Wicked” from which the following lyrics are taken:
So whats new?
I ***IN HATE YOU
alive and well
IN YOUR NEW HELL
if you only knew...
THE TIME IT TOOK ME
maybe then you could see
WHAT IT'S ***IN DONE TO ME.
There is enough anger here to satisfy even the angriest nu metal kid.
Occasional clean guitar interludes bring Integrity to mind. Their incorporation into the song works well and helps with the dark mood of the album. The interludes provide a welcomed dynamic, especially when building up to a breakdown. While abundant on the album, breakdowns don’t sound forced or out of place. Different types of breakdowns are sprinkled throughout the album. Refraining from abusing the stop-start chug breakdown, the band employs a heavier, slow riffing style of breakdown in addition to quicker, double bass pedal driven breakdowns.
Typically lost in the mix, the bass is surprisingly audible throughout the album. It never does anything to separate it from the rest of the pack, but does play a vital role in keeping up a nice groove found throughout the album. The drums are also a key factor in maintaining the groove and stand out in a few key bursts of double bass pedal. Guitars never sound too “rubbery” and are quite catchy. As is common throughout hardcore/metalcore there aren’t a lot of solos flying around, but there are some decent leads which do bring Slayer to mind.
Originality and diversity keep this album from reaching perfection. Clearly taking a few pages out of the “How to play hardcore like Integrity” handbook Disembodied drops some of the Slayeresque leads in favor of playing a more slowed thrash-riff battering. Keeping in line with other more metal leaning hardcore acts at the time such as Morning Again and One King Down, they stick with playing what they know and not deviating too far from the norm.