Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2014
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Onward to the halls of our demise. - 84%

hells_unicorn, July 29th, 2013
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Profound Lore Records (Digipak)

Sometimes an album just clicks by virtue of having the right kind of imagery in place and perfectly conforming the music to that singular yet elaborate picture. With this illustration comes an air of ambiguity, as one ponders whether the party entering what almost looks like a goblin or troll subterranean kingdom are having a simple funeral procession with coffins on their shoulders or are they on their way to a hall of conjuring to attempt and revive the dead for some diabolical purpose? While this question isn't specifically answerable, a hint towards the latter scenario would fit the moribund character of the music that makes up Disma's massive debut of an LP "Towards The Megalith", an album providing an interesting twist on two older approaches to a rapidly expanding and varying sub-genre of metal.

One wouldn't be mistaken in calling this album a throwback, but unlike most albums that would earn that distinction, this one explores territory that wasn't widely delved into during the respective time periods in question, namely the early 90s NYDM sound and the subsequent mid-90s death/doom style. There is definitely a lot more of the former category to be found here, as much of the songwriting finds itself resorting toward the obscured, sludgy mode of thrashing death metal that Incantation was known for in their formative days. Nevertheless, the frequency of slower, dissonant drags in the swamps of a funeral procession of sorts definitely hints at a strong helping of doom-influences, in part from the Funebrarum members who brought their signature sound with them, but also from an older and somewhat more traditional sound comparable to early Autopsy and middle era Morbid Angel.

This album, in spite of having a really elaborate and admittedly captivating album cover, operates mostly on a level of simplicity, opting for a predictable mixture of fast tremolo riffs mixtured with a heavy dose of droning dissonant guitar lines that occasionally remind of Hooded Menace, though about twice as morbid and creepy in character. For most of the time the songs are relatively obvious about where they are going, and though at first the tempo changes come off as abrupt and extreme, a refined ear that accounts for NYDM traditions will not find this approach out of the ordinary. The primary draw here is the massiveness of the atmosphere achieved between the deep guitar tone, power and concert-hall sounding drum production, and the speaker-busting depths and darkness of vocalist Craig Pillard's ghoulish growls, which have lost none of their potency since his emplary work on "Onward To Golgotha".

The one thing that is generally difficult about this collection of songs is that given the heavily stylized nature of it all, the songs tend to run together a bit and function as one mammoth of a concept album musically, though lyrically it doesn't tell any one particular tale. It's as consistent and as unified as a towering ziggurat, but separate the various pieces out of it and attempt to isolate them, and the album definitely feels poorer for it. Nevertheless, "Chasm Oceanus" and the title song "Towards The Megalith" prove to be the most interesting given that they mix things up a bit more than the other songs, most of which occur in one version or another in prior releases before this album. The latter song in particular makes a brilliant buisness of really emphasizing the atmospheric elements, and marches slowly to an almost uncertain conclusion, almost like a lone survivor of some horrific war who hobbles back towards his home with lingering memories of his fallen friends and comrades tormenting his mind.

Pretty much anyone who liked death metal before it became saturated with Suffocation and Cryptopsy imitators will find a winner here. At times it becomes epic enough in scope to rival the first couple of Vital Remains releases, though it stands apart as being much denser in overall sound character and tends more towards a slow to moderate pace where the style's thrash influences are obscured, though still heavily present. Although at the time they probably had no idea where their experimentation would lead, Slayer's handiwork on "South Of Heaven" played a particularly noticeable role in what influenced this album, and "Towards The Megalith" could function as a gateway of sorts for anyone who is flirting with death metal and may find things to like about Benediction and Death, but haven't fully commited to it yet. Light up the torches and onward we go lads, for our destiny lay within these dark, forgotten chambers.

More than a solid release - 98%

slasher47, February 21st, 2012

So I found this CD at Everyday Music soon after it was released, I recognized the name because I knew that members of Funebrarum were in it, as well as early Incantation vocalist Craig Pillard. I assumed this would sound like both of those bands, which I can't deny it doesn't, but I disregarded that after about the fourth listen.

Yes, it sounds like Incantation if you think about it, but this is something new, honestly. The mixture between heavy chords and smooth riffs couldn't go together better. This would be considered a death/doom album, really there isn't much doom, just the occasional doomy part. Its almost like this band didn't even have much of a focus, only to create a death metal album no one thought they would hear in this day and age. In the first song, as well as others on the album, they go into a slow d-beat part that came out of nowhere. Surprises like this happen throughout the whole album. The riffs are also written in a completely unique way, and the structure of the songs are completely unpredictable.

The vocals on this album are amazing. Sticking to the style Piillard uses on "Onward to Golgotha" , but adding an occasional throat noise to snippets of songs, giving the vocals contrast. And just that little bit of contrast makes the album that much better.

Another thing this band pulls off is the production. Its honestly perfect, clean production. I expected something heavy for sure, but thought for sure it would be raw, but it wasn't. You wouldn't even want to hear this raw, you want to hear every last bit of talent these guys put into this album, down to the very last drum part in the last song. I was completely blown away by this album, you don't even have to worry about over playing it. The songs are put together so well, plus the production, and the tones they use on the instruments go together so good that you really couldn't be bummed when this album is thrown on, no matter how much you've heard it.

I thought this album was the best release of 2011.

Disma - Towards the Megalith - 95%

dismember_marcin, January 14th, 2012

I barely finished listening to Father Befouled's "Morbid Destitution of Covenant" LP and already got massacred by yet another doomy death metal band. Band, which at the first listen may be sounding pretty similar and which is also taking a lot of credit from Incantation, Immolation, mid era Morbid Angel or Dead Congregation, but delivers such a furious and devastating piece of music that I thought it must be the end of the world soon, if the bands keep playing something as monstrous as that! This band is Disma, I'm pretty sure many of you have heard about them already. It's been formed by Daryl Kahan, from the mighty Funebrarum (and few other bands) and by ex-Incantation guitarist Bill Venner (well, sort of ex, as he was just a live member in 1990, but he did their artwork for their first demo). The band is a five piece and the most intriguing member above those two I already mentioned is no one else, but Craig Pillard, known to everyone from his playing and growling on the early Incantation’s works, like "Onward to Golgotha" and "Mortal Throne of Nazarene". That must be enough for recommendation, right? After a demo and two EPs, Disma finally came out with their first full length, "Towards the Megalith" album, which was released in 2011. The album contains eight anthems, 46 minutes in total, and it's sort of mixture of some older songs (from the demo and EP) with new ones.

I must say that I got bashed by "Towards the Megalith" instantly. First thing that I absolutely loved about the band is the artwork they have on the album. Man, this must be one of the coolest artworks I've ever seen, the front picture, which goes through the all three digipack pages looks just fuckin impressive and I hardly ever seen anything like that. It’s epic, ghoulish, hooded monks carry the coffins and walk through the dark woods towards this huge temple… Cool! I would love to see it on a vinyl - which I hope will be released soon - to be able to spot all the details of this picture. But the digipack also looks amazing.

And when I started to listen to the music it was the production that Disma achieved on the CD threw me off the chair again. Of course it's just brutal as fuck, heavy and massive death metal production, but at the same time it's much clearer and more energetic than say Father Befouled's "Morbid Destitution of Covenant" LP that I mentioned above. It is pure excellence; I especially like the sound of drums! And when the first riffing of "Chaos Apparition" resounded, I knew it is going to be yet another killer record. Excellent opening riff and the tempo speeds up... and yeah, Pillard knows how to growl, he's a beast not man, with very deep, guttural, great sounding vokills. Anyway, the song does sound amazing, there’re quite few tempo changes, breaks, but the riffing will make you bang the skull in constant ferocity. Basically this track also pretty much describes how does the whole album sound like, as Disma never experiments, never plays anything what wouldn’t fit the whole brutal doomy death metal style. “Chasm of Oceanus” also starts with slow, marching rhythms, but the songs develops first into more midpaced or even blasting playing and then again rapidly slows down so much that it appears like there was something horrid slowly crawling towards you in the dark. “Spectral Domination” for a change hits you with blasts and wall of guitar slaughter from the beginning and to be honest, I think this is one of the best tracks on the whole LP. It is superb, the atmosphere in it is just eerie and cryptic and I love the way Pillard does his vocals. When the band plays fast he still growls relatively slowly. If you remember the Treebeard character from “Lord of the Rings”, this Ent was talking in very slow way… He, this is how sometimes Pillard’s vocals sound like when rest of the band speeds up. Listen to “Purulent Quest” and “Lost In the Burial Ground” also, these are another surprisingly fast tracks, so don’t think that Disma is that very doomy band, because you’ll be surprised! There’s quite a lot of drum bashing, blasts that will hit you with great force.

Anyway, I don’t think there’s any point describing each track from "Towards the Megalith". The whole LP is just as heavy as the… hmm, megalith, and Disma never loses the quality. Throughout the whole album they keep playing great, sometimes quite memorable riffs and the structures of each track is similar: never to bore you with just one tempo, there will always be some changes, some breaks or whatever… One may say that this death metal is pretty archaic, but I wouldn’t call it this way. Yes, it is old school, but not primitive. The drumming is just great here, the riffs are simple, but not in the bad sense of this word. In the end I can honestly say that I like Disma more than most of the other Incantation-worshipping bands from nowadays scene. I thought that Father Befouled was good, but Disma is even better, they rip the guts outs with merciless strength. So, it turns out it must be one of the best (not just death metal) albums from 2011, definitely. Highly recommended!

Standout tracks: “Spectral Domination”, “Vault of Membros”, “Purulent Quest”, “Lost In the Burial Ground”… I may mention the whole tracklist here!
Final rate: 95/100

Monstrous Old School Death Metal - 90%

CrimsonFloyd, November 10th, 2011

Disma’s "Toward the Megalith" has nostalgia written all over it. The cover artwork—which depicts lowly commoners carrying coffins into a massive, morbidly engraved palace—is in the cartoonish style that is the signature of so many of the classic death metal albums of the late 80s and early 90s. Looking a little closer, Disma is composed of guys who have spent decades recording underground classics in death and doom metal. All signs point to an album full of inhumanly heavy death metal that doesn’t forget the hooks at home.

"Towards the Megalith" does not disappoint. This is a legit cut of old school death metal in the vein of Immolation, Incantation and Demigod. The rhythm section is absolutely smothering. The lead riffs are deep, thick and buzzy. However, unlike the aforementioned bands, Disma cut out all frills. No guitar solos. No fast or technical passages. This is just a slow and beastly recording that thoroughly abuses the listener with one massive riff after another.

"Towards the Megalith" is an extremely consistent album. Mostly, the band stays in a slow tempo, only sometimes reaching mid pace. There are no real fast parts on the album; this colossus is just too heavy to move quickly. Thus, the album has a distinctly doom metal bent. The opening riff of “Vault of Membros” would make Iommi proud, while the album’s foreboding outro sounds like something off a Skepticism recording. While the riffs crush, they are also extremely groovy and catchy (just try and get the lead riff to “Chasm of Oceanus” of your head). Disma get it. You don’t have to sacrifice memorable grooves to be overpowering and heavy.

The real highlight of the album is Craig Pillard’s monstrous vocals. Piallard has always had one of the best growls in death metal, but even by his standards this is a standout performance. The deep, guttural growls will hit you so deeply that you will start checking if the earth is crumbling beneath your feet.

Critics will complain that Disma depend too greatly on a standard old school death metal formula. To a degree this is true; but at the same time, "Towards the Megalith" has a personality all its own. There may be other beasts in the sea, but this leviathan stands out. One of the better death metal albums in recent memory, "Toward the Megalith" reminds us what the genre is all about— a putrid atmosphere, inhuman vocals and an onslaught of nasty riffs. In sum, "Toward the Megalith" is a dark and overpowering event that no death metal fan can afford to miss.

(Originally written for http://www.deafsparrow.com/)

Crushingly Heavy OSDM with Amazing Production - 90%

FullMetalAttorney, October 11th, 2011

Old-school death metal has seen a huge resurgence in the last year or so. So many albums, so little time. Well, let me help you narrow your search. Disma's Towards the Megalith is one of the very best.

Featuring members and former members of Funebrarum, Incantation, and Carnage, you know these guys are veterans. They know death metal is supposed to be filthy and disgusting, and it should sound evil. They never touch the upper registers--hell, they barely even touch mid-range. Satan himself doesn't have a death growl the equal of Craig Pillard's.

Towards the Megalith has rhythms that force your body to move like a zombified corpse. I tapped my toes and bobbed my head the full 46 minutes. Be warned: This strain has gone airborne, and it will infect you. Steamroller doom pace or standard death metal pace, they've got you covered.

On top of that, it has the best production job I've heard on a death metal record in--well, ever. It's organic; it's heavier than anything I've heard this year (except morose doomsters SubRosa); and unlike labelmates Vasaeleth, they didn't have to turn down the volume to achieve it. Fantastic.

The Verdict: There's no reinventing the wheel here, but there is some great composition, excellent performance, and peerless production.

originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/

No One Can Hear Your Screams In The Soul Swamp - 87%

HeySharpshooter, October 8th, 2011

Bubbling up from the depths of a swamp littered with the corpses of the lost and the screams of their damned souls, Disma's Towards the Megalith is thick with suffering and death and almost completely suffocated in a horrifying cloud of distortion and bass. The legendary vocals of Craig Pillard, the man who made the mighty Incantation one of the most beloved death metal acts of all time, acts as the demonic and insane Greek Chorus to this blasphemous drama. A veritable super group of death metal musicians, which also includes Shawn Eldridge and Daryl Kahn of New Jersey Devils Funebrarum, Disma have summoned one of the most incredibly sludgey and doom ridden death metal albums in years, much to your listening delight.

Musically primitive and simplistic, Towards the Megalith will instantly remind listeners of the early days of death metal: one hears elements of Autopsy, Incantation, disEMBOWELMENT and even all female death/doom "what-could-have-been" legends Mythic. Incredibly distorted riffs and gut wrenching bass drive each riff, while expert use of creepy melodies and leads give the album an atmosphere of dread and bleakness that few can match. The band almost never head into blast beat territory, and instead seek to smother the listener in their evil as slowly as possible, often to deliciously demented effect. As for the vocals of the masterful Pillard; all one can say is "wow." The man who made guttural growls look almost too easy, Pillard superhuman grunts are as deadly as ever.

It's hard to imagine that this was once the norm for death metal in the early 90's, considering the incredibly technical direction the genre started going in for the late 90's and early 00's. If you are looking for a tech death hater here, you won't find one in me: I love the inhuman precision of Necrophagist as much as the sloppy and distorted riffs of Disma. But after tech death's unfortunate slip into the realm of absurdity over the past few years, death metal needs a band like Disma: one that does not merely recycle old school death metal cliches over and over for internet credibility, but one that expertly crafts original works inspired by the rich history of death metal so that future generations don't miss out on what makes death metal the genre that it is: the fucking blasphemy of it all.

The fucking blasphemy of it all. That is by far the biggest take away from this brilliantly designed piece of Satan worshiping insanity: this is not for the faint of heart. Towards the Megalith is so claustrophobic with the evil stuff it hardly leaves any room to breathe. We would not want it any other way.

Rating: 9/10

Originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/

Rot and Corruption and Filth, Oh My... - 100%

reclusiam, August 27th, 2011

Let's get one thing out on the table right now. If you consider yourself a fan of true death metal -- you know, the thrash and doom inspired, rotten, festering sounds of decay and decrepitude produced by bands like Autopsy, Bolt Thrower and Asphyx back in the late '80/early '90s -- then you can skip this review. Instead, go directly to Profound Lore's website and order a copy of "Towards the Megalith." Do not pass go or collect $200. This is a mandatory release for you. If, however, you are new to the genre, or need a bit more convincing, let me help you out. Disma consists of members of another true death metal act, Funebrarum, and is fronted by the legendary Craig Pillard of Incantation fame. If you don't know Incantation, then you have some legwork to do. But, for the sake of brevity, I will assume that everyone reading this has heard and instantly loved "Onward to Golgotha."

To digress, this is possibly the best death metal album of 2011, rivaled only by Exhumed's "All Guts, No Glory." Comparing these bands is akin to the whole "apples and oranges" cliche. Whereas the latter basks in Amott-era Caracss worship, Disma takes the listener on a more atavistic ride into the sludgy, hideous roots of death metal. On this release, the band invokes the grim specter of Autopsy with crystal-clear production. And, let's face it, the result of this unholy alchemy of drums, bass, guitars, and Craig Fuckin' Pillard on the microphone is massive. Heavier than a Mack truck hauling a trailer full of sumo wrestlers. "Towards the Megalith" is one of those metal albums that has to be taken in as a whole; the totality of effect here is where the band's strength lies. And, with song after ugly song of down-tuned riffs and death/doom pacing punctuated by upbeat, thrashy grooves, the entire album bludgeons the listener repeatedly until there is no choice left but to replay the enitre collection of tracks in a masochistic fit of "true death" obsession. It's eminently listenable.

Disma has managed to produce a death metal masterpiece that is, at once, addictive, atmospheric, catchy-as-hell, and just plain brutal. As much as I hate the oft-abused descriptor "brutal", it actually defines the atmospheric sound of "Towards the Megalith" correctly and accurately. This is not the so-called "brutal death metal" of 300 BPM drumming and fretboard wankery. And yes, I'm looking at you, Brain Drill and Necrophagist. None of that shit here. You can rest assured that Disma puts the "death" back in death metal. This is something that great Cthulhu might listen to while chilling out in the murky halls of R'lyeh, waiting to arise from the sea and conquer the planet. Again, slow, brutal, and ugly.

The album features stunning artwork, and comes in a six panel digipack. I would have preferred an jewelcase release, but all is forgiven as the packaging is jaw-dropping. It will take you back to the days when you could faith-grab a death metal album by the sheer aesthetics of the cover alone. And, as always, the real treat comes when you slip the CD into your stereo and press "Play."

"Towards the Megalith" puts off that vibe of old-school rot and corruption. It is absolutely essential. Buy or Die.

Highlights: Chasm of Oceanus, Lost in the Burial Fog, Spectral Domination

Recommended for fans of: Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Incantation, Funebrarum, Purtenance, Demigod, Convulse, Grave, etc.

Disma - Towards the Megalith - 90%

Thatshowkidsdie, August 1st, 2011

At first the old school death metal revival was refreshing. Since its early 90s heyday, death metal had become overly produced and overly technical, a bloated, sterile, wank-fest that had absolutely nothing to do with the guiding principals the genre was founded upon. In other words, the death had been taken out of death metal, replaced by endless sweep picking and squeaky clean production values. A seemingly endless legion of bands were either cranking out spastic, antiseptic anti-songs, picking the bones of Slaughter of the Soul, or otherwise dragging death metal’s name through the cesspool (and not in a good way).

Of course, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, so along came came a slew of bands flying the flag of old school death metal, attempting to take the genre back to its unholy roots. Some of them were impressive upstarts (Vasaeleth, Impetuous Ritual, Grave Miasma) some of them had been here all along (Nominon, Vomitory, God Dethroned), but the vast majority of them weren’t worthy to lick Bolt Thrower, Entombed or Incantation’s boots. Putting the death back in death metal brought with it a dearth of innovation and attention to craftsmanship. I can live without the former, but the latter is an absolute necessity.

Enter New Jersey’s Disma. Featuring legendary ex-Incantation throat Craig Pillard, as well as members of the long-running Funebrarum, Disma aren’t a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears kids who just discovered death metal. They’re a group of battle-tested veteran musicians with a thirst for devastation, and no other modern band to date has managed to capture the old school death metal zeitgeist as well as they have on their debut full length, Towards the Megalith.

Towards the Megalith is heavy. Impossibly heavy. It might just be the heaviest death metal album of the year, hell, it might be the heaviest death metal album of the last five years. The guitars and bass are de-tuned to the bowels of hell and drenched in distortion, and Pillard’s vocals are so abyssal that they actually add another layer of heaviness to Disma’s slow ‘n’ low sonic assault. You might think that all this unabashed pursuit of heaviness and distortion would lead to a murky Incantation-esque sound, but Towards the Megalith retains a high degree of clarity without sounding overly slick. In fact, being able to hear the filth dripping off of each individual instrument just makes it that much heavier. Hey, did I mention that this album is heavy?

The other immediate highlight of Towards the Megalith is its tempo. Although the band does pick up the pace occasionally, the bulk of the album is characterized by lumbering, doom-y passages, like a horde of legless zombies slowly dragging themselves across a desolate graveyard turned quagmire in search of flesh, their rotting entrails leaving a trail of putrescence behind them. I’ve always been drawn to sludgier tempos over the relentless blastbeats that characterize modern death metal, and the album’s glacial pace, combined with it’s aforementioned sonic weightiness makes for a totally suffocating listening experience, the musical equivalent of being buried alive in concrete.

I’ve talked a lot about a lack of “futurism” in death metal of late, but I’m also a big proponent of the idea that progression simply isn’t necessary if a high level of craftsmanship is present. What Disma lacks in innovation, they more than make up for with an unwavering desire to be the heaviest fucking band on the planet and an inherent understanding of what makes compelling traditional DM. Forget reinventing the wheel, Towards the Megalith crushes it into dust.

Originally written for http://thatshowkidsdie.com

Satisfying. - 87%

Empyreal, July 31st, 2011

Debut album for old school death metallers Disma, who are made up of guys in cool bands like Funebrarum and Incantation, even featuring Incantation’s long-ago vocalist Craig Pillard, who is back in full force to bellow more unearthly, cavernous delights upon our ears. This is just a seriously awesome, visceral punch to the balls, and it is as cool as it sounds from that pedigree. Towards the Megalith is just a quality album of riffy, crawling, addictive old school death that I keep coming back to.

This is quite a bit more accessible than your usual festering, filthy doom/death. Disma’s music is actually really catchy and the riffs are all constructed in a very traditional way, building on one another to create very propulsive and easy to listen to songs. I don’t often see death metal of this sort getting this accessible and enjoyable so easily, and it really makes Disma stand out among the pack. The focus is on playing one great riff after another rather than trying to evoke the sort of cavernous atmosphere that a lot of other revival bands try to do. Nothing wrong with that either, and atmosphere can be awesome, but I really like this album’s more straightforward approach.

And the riffs are just all so good, too – it’s like the band has a disease where they can’t stop writing awesome death metal riffs that punch, kick, bite and eviscerate alike. Pretty much every song has some twisted, churning riffs that don’t stop coming at you until the song ends, upon which you get even more in the next tune. And this isn’t one of those bands that just throws the same two or three riffs at you, either – these are very complex and interesting songs, and the longer ones unfold into very tight, intricate works, while still remaining brutal and uncompromising all the way. One of my favorite things about this is the production, which is just great – it’s heavy and dark, and it’s got this awesome bassy fuzz in the background of everything, making for a really smooth, river-like flow to everything and also some rollicking grooves that add to the enjoyment and hook factor.

“Chaos Apparition” is a bit of a generic opener, but “Chasm of Oceanus” kicks things up in a big way with a rolling, calculated groove and some addictive hooks to boot. This song is followed up masterfully by awesome tunes like the winding “Spectral Domination,” the cool almost prog-ish arrangements on “Lost in the Burial Fog” and the sprawling, surmounting horror of “Vault of Membros,” which is the best song here. The final two songs aren't as strong as the mighty onslaught of tracks 2-6, but they're by no means bad either - just not as good as the really, really excellent stuff on here. Disma is a class act that I look forward to hearing more from in the future; highly recommended.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com

Crawl to your coffins - 78%

autothrall, July 19th, 2011

Disma's 2009 demo The Vault of Membros stirred a fair amount of hype for the New Jersey outfit, especially among adulators of this whole new wave of morbid, cavernous old school death metal that reared up in the past 3-5 years. So it's not a surprise that their debut full-length Towards the Megalith would breed such anticipation, and thankfully, the album delivers on at least some of that promise. From the vile majesty of its 'inviting', sepulchral cover artwork, to the copious and crushing guitar tone, and the unmistakable vocal presence of the legendary Craig Pillard (who you might remember from the classic Incantation records Onward to Golgotha and Mortal Throne of Nazarene), this is one tormented trip into the tombs of archaic 90s death metal that devotees are unlikely to find disappointing.

There are members of Funebrarum in the fold, so naturally that death/doom drawl is inherent in the writing, and the Incantation parallels are inevitable. However, I also heard a lot of old Autopsy (Several Survival, Mental Funeral) in the guitar tone, some Bolt Thrower to the myriad grooves, and the primal miasma of the overall atmosphere conjures up much of the early Finnish scene like Convulse, Depravity or Demilich. Most of the songs are elaborate but simplistic sequences of slowly morphing monstrosity carried by the thickness of the rhythm guitars, the organic and sincere expression of the drumming, and Pillard's throat sounds like the gates of an abandoned graveyard being opened after years, their rusted grates pushing aside the gathered soil and leaves of time, and the wind of necrosis rushing out from the dead residents to the unwary caretaker. Tracks like "Lost in the Burial Fog" and "Vault of Membros" itself pride themselves on pummeling sloth, while others like "Chasm of Oceanus", "Of a Past Forlorn" and "Spectral Domination" invest the requisite old school speed and grime.

The only real issue I take with Towards the Megalith, and it's not a small one, is that it suffers from the same setback as so many other albums in this grim, atmospheric death explosion: the riffing itself is simply not that creative. The songwriting is almost uniformly immediate, with no subtleties in among the sludge and slam-hammers. The guitars don't take any unexpected turns or thrills, and thus it always begets the impression of just doing a decent job with what has come before. Sure, the vapid grooving creates a primal and prodigious window into the medium's history, but just think what these same ominous, overbearing vocals and guitar tones would do with a more evocative sense of notation...the possibilities are endless! Unfortunately, that is just not to be here, and since five of the eight tracks have already appeared on the band's demo, split record (with Winterwolf), and The Manifestation EP, there's not much new going on (unless you are just getting into the band).

That gripe aside, Towards the Megalith is still a good listen with an appropriate, darker than pitch production, and should not let down fans of the members' alma maters (especially Onward to Golgotha or The Sleep of Morbid Dreams). Anyone feasting on the dour, old school obesity of evil circa Slugathor, Vasaeleth, Swallowed, Sonne Adam, Decrepitaph, Father Befouled, or the like would also do well to track this down.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com