Thursday, 17 May 2012

DISINCARNATE - Dreams Of The Carrion Kind (1993)

01  De Profundus
02  Stench Of Paradise Burning
03  In Sufferance
04  Beyond The Flesh
05  Monarch Of The Sleeping Marches
06  Soul Erosion
07  Entranced
08  Confine Of Shadows
09  Deadspawn
10  Sea Of Tears
11  Immemorial Dream

Disincarnate was an early technical death metal band, fronted by guitarist James Murphy, also of Testament, Cancer, Obituary, and Death. James Murphy is often credited as one of the forerunners of melodic metal guitar playing in brutal death metal. Thus far only one album has been released, 1993's 'Dreams of the Carrion Kind'. However, Murphy has worked intermittently on a second album for a couple of years, whilst dealing with medical problems. There is no set time for a release. Displeased Records re-issued the debut album in autumn 2006.

'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, this album 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 (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 complex architecture of 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 top-notch, state-of-the-art death metal in the eyes of most enthusiasts of the genre.

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