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Monstrous Old School Death Metal - 90%

CrimsonFloyd, November 10th, 2011

Disma’s "Toward the Megalith" has nostalgia written all over it. The cover artwork—which depicts lowly commoners carrying coffins into a massive, morbidly engraved palace—is in the cartoonish style that is the signature of so many of the classic death metal albums of the late 80s and early 90s. Looking a little closer, Disma is composed of guys who have spent decades recording underground classics in death and doom metal. All signs point to an album full of inhumanly heavy death metal that doesn’t forget the hooks at home.

"Towards the Megalith" does not disappoint. This is a legit cut of old school death metal in the vein of Immolation, Incantation and Demigod. The rhythm section is absolutely smothering. The lead riffs are deep, thick and buzzy. However, unlike the aforementioned bands, Disma cut out all frills. No guitar solos. No fast or technical passages. This is just a slow and beastly recording that thoroughly abuses the listener with one massive riff after another.

"Towards the Megalith" is an extremely consistent album. Mostly, the band stays in a slow tempo, only sometimes reaching mid pace. There are no real fast parts on the album; this colossus is just too heavy to move quickly. Thus, the album has a distinctly doom metal bent. The opening riff of “Vault of Membros” would make Iommi proud, while the album’s foreboding outro sounds like something off a Skepticism recording. While the riffs crush, they are also extremely groovy and catchy (just try and get the lead riff to “Chasm of Oceanus” of your head). Disma get it. You don’t have to sacrifice memorable grooves to be overpowering and heavy.

The real highlight of the album is Craig Pillard’s monstrous vocals. Piallard has always had one of the best growls in death metal, but even by his standards this is a standout performance. The deep, guttural growls will hit you so deeply that you will start checking if the earth is crumbling beneath your feet.

Critics will complain that Disma depend too greatly on a standard old school death metal formula. To a degree this is true; but at the same time, "Towards the Megalith" has a personality all its own. There may be other beasts in the sea, but this leviathan stands out. One of the better death metal albums in recent memory, "Toward the Megalith" reminds us what the genre is all about— a putrid atmosphere, inhuman vocals and an onslaught of nasty riffs. In sum, "Toward the Megalith" is a dark and overpowering event that no death metal fan can afford to miss.

(Originally written for