You could be forgiven for thinking that “Heroin Fingers”, the opener to If God Only Knew The Rest Were Dead
, was a track about drug addiction seeming as it alludes to it in its title and makes lyrical references to “veins” and “lifeless” bodies; it’s just it’s actually about vampires, which makes me feel like a bit of an ass for listening to it under the apprehension it was about drug use for the last two years. Perhaps I should have clocked that the heavily melodramatic, whispered, opening monologue (“Merciless death/how you love your precious guilt/How you pathetically hold on to/ your insignificant martyrdom”) were more the words of a pale effeminate man than a junkie, but even 90s metalcore tended to lean towards the theatrical on occasions so I brushed my doubts aside. Besides, I think it’s testament to how well Disembodied approached the subject matter that It doesn’t come off the least bit “schlocky” or tacky, their grounded and fairly straightforward approach to metalcore no doubt assisting in that.
“Fairly straightforward” shouldn’t be misconstrued as generic though, because although they do certainly make use of many of the common tropes of metalcore (and couldn’t be taken for anything else) there is more than your standard fare of breakdowns on offer here. For example, “Heroin Fingers”’ opening of listless vocals, echoed whispering and melodic eeriness immediately sets them apart from a great deal of their contemporaries in scope. It makes the subsequent shocks of dissonance all the more affecting too; a sharp contrast between the disconcerting calmness and the crushing aggression that breaks it. This contrast is continued throughout the EP, the most striking example being the common juxtaposition of disinterested, spoken vocals and whispering against coarse shouted vocals and rumbling guitars.
Impressively, the spoken vocals (except for the opening quote) don’t come off as melodramatic or flowery, which for metalcore is a rare thing. I think it because of the understated way in which they’re said, almost with no intent behind them, or pretentions of importance. In this way they fit the understated approach Disembodied take to metalcore, no flashy bells and whistles, just good old fashioned discordance and speed. Strangely this is both a blessing and a curse, as it allows them to stick to what they do best and not get ahead of their selves with experimentation while resigning them to being pretty samey across the 20 minute runtime. And if all there is to complain about is that they stick to what they do best then they can’t have gone far wrong.