Review Summary: Absolutely punishing.
On their newest record, Australia’s Disentomb have taken every idea that made 2010’s Sunken Chambers of Nephilim
so good and amplified it. Their style of brutal death metal is nothing new, but the way they execute it is absolutely relentless. Their influences are obvious throughout as their often sporadic and atonal approach to the genre is reminiscent of Guttural Secrete, Condemned or Defeated Sanity.
Across ten tracks the quartet are never boring or predictable, and it’s drummer Henry Sison who manages to be the most interesting member here. His drumming is fantastic and, whilst being erratic, never feels aimless. It’s the same story with guitarist Jake Wilkes too – his guitar playing is all over the neck but the technical prowess on display is never overbearing or ostentatious like many of the band’s counterparts.
Blast-beats are a constant throughout, but when the band do slow it down, it’s a welcome change of pace. The end of Chthonic Gateways is absolutely bone-shattering, the middle of Vultures Descend is crushing, and both the intro track and Megaliths of Despair mirror the band’s doom influences, and sound like a fu
cked up cross between Pallbearer and Devourment.
Another wonderful aspect of Misery
is the production, and although everything is tight to such a precise level, no part of the album feels superficial or processed. The pop in the snare drum is gorgeous to listen to, especially during the album’s faster moments, and the rest of the kit sounds so natural. Live drums are under-used in the 21st century, but hearing the inconsistencies in the hits of the hi-hat, or the fact that no two hits on the ride bell or the snare drum are the same simply adds to the band’s organic approach. The only criticism one can attribute to the album is that it would benefit from a guitar tone that’s less murky – a lot of the album’s faster riffs tend to get lost amongst the chaos, but it doesn’t detract too much from the experience.
Death metal fans who follow New Standard Elite’s releases should know what to expect, but it’s interesting to wonder whether, not just Disentomb, but any
brutal death metal act will be able to top this record. It’s a consistent album that hardly falters and potentially may, in retrospect, be remembered in the future as one of the genre’s strongest releases.