Towards the Megalith

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With the album format heading for extinction and Pro Tools allowing artists to piece music together in private isolation, the heavy metal scene -- once defined by long-playing formats, live band interplay, and relatively undoctored musicianship -- is filled with bands searching to make sense of their heritage in changing times. This condition manifests itself in the widespread retrospective movement that has bands recording in analog or seeking to replicate authentic sounds and styles past, or both -- as do Clifton, New Jersey's Disma. A group composed of death metal veterans with ties to bands like Incantation, Methadrone, Funebrarum, and others, Disma set out to revisit the style's vintage, early-‘90s formulas, marked by savagely guttural vocals, rumbling detuned guitars, rattling bass distorted just so (one can almost see dirt and earthworms leaking out of the Marshall stacks), and limited technical complexity, since progressive overkill and clinical technical skills would only come to the death metal world later on. Given all that, there's no disputing the fact that Disma absolutely nail their desired aesthetic, but, more importantly, they also deliver lots of memorable songs ("Chaos Apparition," "Spectral Domination," etc.) in the crusty mold of early Autopsy, Sorrow, and particularly Finnish bands like Demilich and Convulse. There are also several notably sluggish and prolonged entries on hand -- like "Chasm of Oceanus," "Lost in the Burial Fog," and "Of a Past Forlorn" -- that drive the old-school death metal vibe home, in case anyone should confuse Disma's agenda. Heck, even the album cover is studiously designed to meet 1992 standards, thus completing the nostalgic picture that the band intended to paint on Towards the Megalith, and all higher aspirations be damned; sometimes there's nothing wrong with living in the past.

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