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Some of the nastiest that New Jersey has to offer. - 81%

hells_unicorn, July 28th, 2013

Disma is something of a super-group, though a bit of an unusual one given that with the exception of vocalist Craig Pillard of Incantation fame, they are comprised primarily of people who came into the scene a bit too late for the early 90s NYDM awakening and some surrounding New England acts that picked up on the same overall vibe. Their brand of death metal is rooted in early 90s tradition, often times being difficult to distinguish from the aforementioned big name from the early 90s, in which Pillard first made a name for himself, but also being perhaps a little different in terms of scope and overall dimension. One might liken them to a meeting place between the murky and bleak world of Incantation, the slow trudging doom character of a handful of Autopsy and late Morbid Angel offerings, and the longer winded songwriting character of early Vital Remains in some respects, at least insofar as this demo is concerned.

Arguably the greatest distinction that Disma seems to make between itself and its influences is the sheer depth and sludgy character of their sound, putting a heavy emphasis on a thick, plodding bass character that gives even the occasional thrashing sections a sense of slowness and despair. This is particularly noteworthy on title song "The Vault Of Membros" where the chaotic and somewhat top-heavy drumming melds together with an extremely dissonant guitar and bass sound to form a sort of gargantuan blob of sound, out of which Pillard rumbles out some of the most utterly deep, guttural, incomprehensible grunts imaginable. Combined with a reverb-drenched production quality that fits quite well with the band's early 90s sound, all of the moving parts function as a sort of slow marching colossus on his way to destroy an entire city, and manages to maintain this sense of murkiness even when blasting and thrashing away in a manner reminiscent of early Cannibal Corpse on "Chaos Apparition".

If there be any single gripe about this demo, it is the same general one that can be lobbed at any independent, formative effort before a true finalized product is brought into being, and that is a sense of incompleteness, primarily in the potential of the overall sound. Even within the first minute of "Lost In The Burial Fog" it is clear that the limited production quality is holding back what is a truly massive mixture of sounds. It's the sort of music that one tends to associate with the massive temples and structures often depicted in the early 90s old school releases of Dismember and Benediction (particularly the accompanying art works of Dan Seagrave that adorned the covers of their respective magnum opuses), and interestingly enough the imagery on the eventual LP that this preceded "Towards The Megalith" confirms the band's overall affinity with massive feats of ancient architecture.