Disincarnate's only album, Dreams of the Carrion Kind, was ostensibly the much anticipated "solo" showcase for journeyman guitarist James Murphy, whose personal legend had been built, almost entirely, upon a series of brief but highly praised cameos with influential bands Obituary, Death, and Cancer. As much as his capabilities as a principal songwriter and bandleader, however, Dreams became a living document of instrumental overindulgence gone ape, having been released near the zenith of the Floridian death metal scene's technical-cerebral maturity. As such, the album virtually requires that listeners approach it with a student's curiosity for inaccessible sounds and sheer technique, because nothing here is what you'd call "immediate" by any stretch of the definition (so be prepared to take notes while you mosh, kids!). Heck, even all these years later, staple Disincarnate offerings such as "Stench of Paradise Burning," "Beyond the Flesh," "Soul Erosion," and "Deadspawn" (several of them co-written by rhythm guitarist Jason Carman) still shock and awe with their Byzantine architecture and constant riff and tempo changes. Collectively, they may not plumb the same mind-numbing depths of complexity as, say, Suffocation, but amid the daunting cascade of slushy-thick riffs, sledgehammer percussion from Tommy Viator, and spiraling harmonic streaks (captured with stunning effect in the classic "Confine of Shadows"), the only real "hooks" on hand are proffered by Murphy's stunningly accomplished, famously melodic solo flights. The guitarist also contributes mostly invisible bass guitar throughout (quite typical for the style), while frontman Bryan Cegon proves himself a perfectly competent but really rather average death metal vocalist -- both in terms of his run-of-the-mill Cookie Monster growl and lyrics that read like some sort of scary but oddly didactic catalog of the dark side. (On a trivia note: My Dying Bride singer Aaron Stainthorpe appears on the album standout "Monarch of the Sleeping Marches.") All of these intellectual demands -- both scripted and musical -- invariably restrict Disincarnate and Dreams of the Carrion Kind to a pretty specific point in time (and an equally specific fan base), but it just so happens to be state-of-the-art death metal in the eyes of most enthusiasts of the genre.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia