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One of the best death metal demos ever - 94%

robotiq, January 14th, 2020

This is both the pinnacle of Finnish death metal and one of the greatest death metal demos of all time. The four songs here are a quantum leap forward from Disgrace's previous tape ("Beyond the Immortalized Existence"). The slow, sludgy elements are still here but they no longer dominate the composition. The Carcass influences have been integrated so perfectly that they almost disappear. The band now spend most of their time slipping from one weird riff to another in a perpetual state of tension and resolution.

One listen to opener "The Chasm" shows you how far Disgrace have developed their sound. This song is little over two minutes long but conveys so many different ideas. The band never take the easy option and they're not afraid to break things down and build them back up again. The drummer is particularly important here. Listen from around 0:40, where the band starts playing slow, open chords over a faster drumbeat. This is the sort of thing which shouldn't work, but it does. Death metal bands rarely loosen up and empty the space in such a way. Most bands are obsessed with cramming more things in, making everything faster, slower, tighter, more brutal, more atmospheric. Disgrace know better.

The band's looseness is indicative of their confidence playing together. Notice how 'bluesy' some of this sounds. The second riff on "Unity's Interlude Dyes Blind Tomorrow" is the best example. To modern ears it sounds a bit like stoner rock and I assume Disgrace were influenced by Black Sabbath. The guitarists also tend to bend the strings on chords which adds vibrancy. Nothing here is stagnant, you will never find yourself waiting for the next section to start. The songs almost give the impression of being created through informal jamming, though I doubt this was actually the case.

"Transcendental Dimension" returns to the band's doomy, sludgy style, but Disgrace rarely plays 'spooky atmospheric sections' anymore. Instead, they sequence great riff after great riff and challenge the listener to figure everything out. Similarly, "Waves of Hypocrisy Seas" is a great example of the slithering, amorphous riffing that Demilich would perfect a couple of years later (although I prefer this to anything Demilich have done).

This demo strikes the perfect balance between experimental weirdness and crushing heaviness. "Inside the Labyrinth of Depression" is my favourite Finnish death metal release and anyone who likes death metal should seek it out.