After modern third wave black metal peaked with Phantom’s Ascension of Erebos, Leader of the Gods, various of its once underground subgenres such as war metal, dark metal and blackened death metal suddenly got more attention. Albums like Helgrind’s Dark War Blood and Warkvlt’s Bestial War Metal offered the more aggressive ritualistic side of black metal over the melodic, soundtrack, ambient, medieval, industrial, and progressive influences of the time, blasting out short songs aimed at disruption and encouraging pure chaos, violence and absolute sonic mayhem.
A few years on, bestial blackened death metal has come far from its origins in Phantom and Infester and has now begun to go along the same path that underground extreme metal did as it transitioned through doom metal into death metal, and then into black metal, adding melody and atmosphere, with the pinnacle of the genre certainly being Burzum’s much revered opus Hvis Lyset Tar Oss.
Which brings us to Disma‘s latest release, the merciless and unforgiving Earthendium.
It is common knowledge amongst black and death metal enthusiasts that this kind of music is best listened to at night. Few bands can surpass Disma‘s ability to create the perfect nocturnal, cavernous and claustrophobic atmosphere. Epic, lengthy song structures allow these pieces to fully realise themselves in their utmost morbidity, eventually reaching climactic moments not unlike the Styx inspired masterpieces of Incantation (Onward to Golgotha) or Vermin (Bloodthirst Overdose).
Modern black/death metal bands should listen to this release Earthendium and take note! Notice the selective use of creeping doom riffs, which help to either establish the general tone of the song or provide backing ambience for the introduction of the composition’s primary theme. Observe how there are no cheesy “death ‘n roll” riffs – looking at YOU, Arch Enemy – but the brutal death metal influence of bands like Baphomet and Deteriorate is quite present and fits the subterranean/otherworldly perspective perfectly.
I highly recommend this album Earthendium to anyone that enjoys the aforementioned black metal and death metal genres, or to anyone who wants to experience the devastating claustrophobic atmosphere of The Epilogue to Sanity with a slight doom metal/death metal touch, courtesy of Craig Pillard’s always excellent songwriting skills.