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Eerie and haunting - 98%

DreamOfDarkness, March 7th, 2013

In 1993 when death metal was still young, four guys from down under combined their past musical efforts in grindcore and death metal with ambient doom and forged it into one scary beast of an album. No one ever did something similar to this before and an entirely new genre was spawned here. Be prepared...

Right after the first seconds it becomes clear that this is not your usual 1993 death metal. The muddy, down-tuned guitars and bass droning back and forth between incomprehensible growls and the slow, but thunderous drums convincingly sound like this was recorded in a dark cave devoid of any which you are trapped now. Out of nothing, a faint, clean guitar is humming strange melodies of sadness and despair. It spends some light in this place, but soon it fades again and you are left in pure darkness. But the calm is not meant to last long. The guitars speed up, the drums start blasting, and something is following you. You are desperately running, exhausted, lost in this cave.

The instrumentation is typical for death metal: guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, but the way the band uses the instruments is often different from what other bands do. The huge amount of reverb applied to the entire recording turns the guitars and bass, which mostly play basic riffs, into droning noise that is the fundamentals of the recording. The drums vary from very slow doom rhythms to fast blast beats and give everything a shape and order, and the deep, slow and thus almost incomprehensible growls add a lot to the mood altogether. Only the occasionally appearing clean guitar adds some actual melody to the music, creating an interesting contrast to the death metal fundamental. The band does not play technical or complex at all, but I think this would only decrease the effect of the music.

Although the feeling of being chased in endlessly dark caves drags through the entire album, each of the seven songs has its own mood. While "Your Prophetic Throne Of Ivory" makes a lot of use of the clean guitars and "Nightside Of Eden" consists entirely of spoken word over said guitars, the fourteen and a half minute beast that is "A Burial At Ornans" is pure darkness. There is no light in this hope, not even sadness. Just fear in its purest form. The last song, however, ends the album almost friendly and hopeful.

The songs themselves don't follow any constant structure and have no choruses or verses, so at first it can be hard to tell how the songs will evolve, but I think this makes them even more absorbing and fascinating because the listener is forced to listen attentively.

Definitely worth a mention are the lyrics. They are very poetic and seem to tell a mystical story about life and death. The imagery used is incredibly alive and absorbing. Reading the lyrics while listening really gives the music another dimension:

The winds brought in from the south coast replace
Such drainful inhabitance,
My eyelids voluntarily close as the blue horizon line takes shape,
Stretching out far beyond the sun,
The sound of the blue, an eternity of complete acquiescence,
I cannot move, nor do I need to, for it is enough to lie on the cliff
And become entrapped in a world of escapism and peace

The only minor issue I have are the sometimes similar-sounding riffs during the slower parts. Still, Disembowelment created something very creative and absolutely unique with "Transcendence Into The Peripheral". There is no instrumental wanking or showing off. Everything is meant to serve the atmosphere, which is incredibly dense and almost unparalleled in extreme metal.