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Morbid Angel, Only Campy - 60%

FullMetalAttorney, December 3rd, 2010

Disfigure the Insane is/was a Scottish death metal band started earlier this year by two blokes and a drum machine. (They are called blokes in Scotland, right? Or is that just an English thing?) I like the name--I mean, if you're going to disfigure someone, why not a crazy person? No one's going to believe their version of the truth.

Their Myspace page makes clear that they want extreme metal to go back to a simpler time, before crazy time signatures and other oddities that have creeped into the genre. Their music is mostly simple, old-school death metal, in the style of Morbid Angel (i.e. mid-paced with vaguely Slayer-esque solos) but with the intentional campiness of Cannibal Corpse. At times it even makes me think of Dethklok--during the intro to the title track, I half-expected to hear, "Do you folks like coffee?"

The album starts on a throwaway noise/sample track, and goes into some pretty good death metal for the next couple tracks. "This Disconnection" is the first misstep along the way, as the generic-sounding death/black vocals force themselves into the forefront. The rhythm section they play behind the solo at the end is really cool, though. Follow-up "Kentucky Fried Children" is completely generic and intentionally dumb (he literally says "KFC" several times).

After that, they quickly redeem themselves with two standout tracks, "The Messiah's Whore" (featuring a highly memorable verse and great solo) and "Ouroboros" (with a blackened touch to the death). Sadly, the album doesn't go out quite as strong, with three forgettable but passable tracks (the vocals distract again on "Disfigured, the Insane").

All told, it's a half-hour of simple, old-school death metal played by guys who clearly love the genre's basics. It's a lot of fun.

adapted from

Postcards from the asylum - 60%

autothrall, November 22nd, 2010

The logo presentation for the Disfigure the Insane debut Ourorboros doesn't hold out much hope for the quality of its contents, but before I proceed I should probably establish what exactly this is. Disfigure the Insane is the project of Callum Cant and Craig Robinson, a pair of Scots with a good sense of humor and a sensible grasp of their own limitations (I found their MySpace page enormously entertaining, to tell the truth). Ouroboros is a good old twitching of the death metal nerve, and it's got more than its share of problems, but believe it or not, there is something quite more to it...

What really stunned me about this album is how similar it sounds to Morbid Angel's classic Altars of Madness, only completely batshit insane, and with a drum machine. If you take that ripping, old death/thrashing tone and apply it more chaotically with myriad time shifts that don't always make sense, you've come up with something nearing Disfigure the Insane. Granted, you'll hear some other sounds in here like Deicide, the sporadic intensity of Atheist, or even the vicious twist of black metal venom in some of the vocals, but the way the guitars tear off across the hostility of the vocals truly reminds me of Trey and David Vincent. Such vitriolic fuel makes a track like "Slaughter of Figures...Once Divine" or "Crooked Cage" not only tolerable, but honestly quite good. Both the bassist and guitarist have a solid level of ability, whether pounding out the rapid chords or masturbating into a little shred work.

There are downsides here, like the unfortunate "Kentucky Fried Children". Yes, the lyrics are obviously funny in that least effort sort of way, but my real issue was that it sort of steers away from the great, Altars of Madness feel I get from other compositions. Other tracks deviate from the formula with greater success, like "Ouroboros" itself which makes great use of evil, clinical guitars, or "Sado - Necropolism" which sounds like a jamboree of insane, progressive technical with a strangely uplifting in the bridge. The drum programming, while tight enough to keep the rhythms and even flip its own lid, simply doesn't service this sort of band as much as a live drummer (but they're working on it). Also, sometimes the compositions are so twisted that they tend to crash in upon themselves, with various riffs meshing together that make little sense and become distracting. Fortunately, this is not that often, and you can generally pick up what the band are putting down without achieving a migraine or colostomy.

So, what's next? Certainly, if Disfigure the Insane pulled themselves together, got a drummer and packaged these tunes properly, they would turn some heads. I noticed a lot of death metal bands from this region of the world like Mithras, Scythian and Dãm tend to channel the Morbid Angel influence heavily, but these Scots seem to jerk it forth straight from 1989 and layer it into a modern, spastic context. Ouroboros is a bit of a mess, but it would be foolish to ignore the potential pushing below that mess, like an unhatched fetus trying not to choke itself off in the umbilical, so it picks up a guitar and saws its own nutrient sac in half, dooming itself, and yet giving everyone in the inevitable operating room mental scars for life. Flawed? Most assuredly. Fun? You betcha.