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Satisfying. - 87%

Empyreal, July 31st, 2011

Debut album for old school death metallers Disma, who are made up of guys in cool bands like Funebrarum and Incantation, even featuring Incantation’s long-ago vocalist Craig Pillard, who is back in full force to bellow more unearthly, cavernous delights upon our ears. This is just a seriously awesome, visceral punch to the balls, and it is as cool as it sounds from that pedigree. Towards the Megalith is just a quality album of riffy, crawling, addictive old school death that I keep coming back to.

This is quite a bit more accessible than your usual festering, filthy doom/death. Disma’s music is actually really catchy and the riffs are all constructed in a very traditional way, building on one another to create very propulsive and easy to listen to songs. I don’t often see death metal of this sort getting this accessible and enjoyable so easily, and it really makes Disma stand out among the pack. The focus is on playing one great riff after another rather than trying to evoke the sort of cavernous atmosphere that a lot of other revival bands try to do. Nothing wrong with that either, and atmosphere can be awesome, but I really like this album’s more straightforward approach.

And the riffs are just all so good, too – it’s like the band has a disease where they can’t stop writing awesome death metal riffs that punch, kick, bite and eviscerate alike. Pretty much every song has some twisted, churning riffs that don’t stop coming at you until the song ends, upon which you get even more in the next tune. And this isn’t one of those bands that just throws the same two or three riffs at you, either – these are very complex and interesting songs, and the longer ones unfold into very tight, intricate works, while still remaining brutal and uncompromising all the way. One of my favorite things about this is the production, which is just great – it’s heavy and dark, and it’s got this awesome bassy fuzz in the background of everything, making for a really smooth, river-like flow to everything and also some rollicking grooves that add to the enjoyment and hook factor.

“Chaos Apparition” is a bit of a generic opener, but “Chasm of Oceanus” kicks things up in a big way with a rolling, calculated groove and some addictive hooks to boot. This song is followed up masterfully by awesome tunes like the winding “Spectral Domination,” the cool almost prog-ish arrangements on “Lost in the Burial Fog” and the sprawling, surmounting horror of “Vault of Membros,” which is the best song here. The final two songs aren't as strong as the mighty onslaught of tracks 2-6, but they're by no means bad either - just not as good as the really, really excellent stuff on here. Disma is a class act that I look forward to hearing more from in the future; highly recommended.

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