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Disma > Earthendium > Reviews > Stillborn Machine
Disma - Earthendium

Old NY man yells at clouds and then falls down front steps of porch. - 15%

Stillborn Machine, June 20th, 2022

Craig Pillard really has seen better days. Once the frontman of the legendary Incantation, his departure and replacement by Daniel Corchado (coincidentally for Incantation's finest album) was the start of a long slump he's never been able to creep out of. Disciples of Mockery seemed to hint that perhaps there was still some gas left in the tank even if it frequently sounded like the oft-criticized "Incantaclones" that mostly clog up Russian filesharing sites. Disma initially seemed to be the return to form, at least, until various controversies around Craig's fascist leanings, the rapid evaporation of The Vault of Membros' songwriting promise, and the departure of all the actually competent musicians and well, everything.

After a not particularly long wait, Disma have returned once more, with all the intensity and ferocity of a wet Taco Bell induced fart. With the absence of Shawn Eldridge and Daryl Kahan (Craig Smilwowski as well for that matter), the new Disma for all of the hatefulness and vitriol Craig possesses is weirdly tame, dialed in even, safe dare I say. For those unfamiliar, Disma essentially play an unsurprisingly OTG era Incantation esque sound infused with the doomy murk of Finnish death metal, which is by all means a good idea. Where it faults is the lack of any genuine savagery or force behind it, again due to the departure of the Funebrarum and Immolation members that could back it up. The new-ish Disma hobbles, plods, and ambles along, with even its faster moments at best a light jog that broadcasts its shifts in tempo and riffing ahead of time with all the shock and surprise of an AC/DC single you've heard 10 million times too many.

Its best/least snooze-inducing moments sound like The Gloomy Reflection of Our Hidden Sorrows, functioning on the same underlying USDM/Nordic fusion, but continuing the trend of being consistently outdone by Mexicans (and not even after they steal his job), Craig's new project doesn't have that same fire in its guts. Cenotaph were an impressively unhinged band when they started out, drenched in the sort of filth so many OSDM bands fetishize today but they were never entirely defined by it. Hyperspeed war metal/grind intense blasts, out of nowhere tonal shifts between astral gloominess and foaming at the mouth barbarity, and structures as grandiose as they were borderline nonsensical in their scope and complexity - the Cenotaph debut took a lot of dares utterly absurd on paper and execution yet backed it up by a devil-may-care attitude and an absolute dismissal of the expectations of their time (along with OSCAR FUCKING CLORIO ALSO FROM SHUB NIGGURATH AND DENIAL, the most underappreciated death metal drummer, and DANIEL GODDAMN CORCHADO OF THE CHASM on the SAME GOATED ALBUM, but apparently having both ever play together again might cause a global KT event which is why it only ever happened once unfortunately).

Disma doesn't have that and it's what damns them to the bargain bin; everything fits together so comfortably as to never be even slightly threatening or barbaric. They know that you know all the tricks of the trade but they cannot even remind us why they are so commonplace and beloved. It's as if they intended this EP for dudes who only just got used to Tomb Mold and Gruesome that still feel Frozen Soul and Cancer's Death Shall Rise were dangerously close to being too much to handle. The end result is an easy listening version of a now bastardized sound, divorced from the bona fide bloodlust and rabies-ridden violence that defined it in the oft-glamorized early 90's era of death metal. It's been long since reduced to flavor of the month fodder for the beardo trendies and genre tourists. Disma might promise horror and danger but they're ultimately every bit as interchangeable as the average Life After Death and Maggot Stomp tagalongs, at best slightly more tolerable than the HM2 clones.

Also what is that polka-ass 3:01 riff and beat on the title track lol.

Anyways just listen to the new albums by Cryptivore, Ravenous Death (Mexico lmao), Suppression (Chile), and Assumption (Italy), if you absolutely need gnarled 'n' nasty no-nonsense OSDM from this year that *isn't* stumbling down the front steps of the retirement home.