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Classic Review: Disembowelment - Transcendence Into The Peripheral
Transcendence Into The Peripheral

Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 1993
Duration: 59:36
Tracks: 7
Genre: Doom/Death

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 19, 2004
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Readers Rating
Transcendence Into The Peripheral

Rated 4.36/5 (87.14%) (28 Votes)

Doom metal can be an awfully confusing genre... on one hand, there's your classic "rocking" doom metal, the funeral-dirge insomnia-curing drone nonsense, and the death/doom camp. Disembowelment's sole full-length does a damn good job of combining the latter two, while increasing the death metal quota. In other words, you get the crushing, oppressive feel of drone-doom coupled with the crunch and power of old-school slow death maestro's like Asphyx and Obituary. That's not to say this is particularly headbangable. No, it's the sort of thing you throw on when you wish to be absorbed in a sickening atmosphere of pure melancholic hate.

"The Tree Of Life And Death" opens things up with a deceptively fast section, with slashing death metal riffs and a cleaner guitar passage weaving in and out of drumming which alternates between midpaced blasting and slower pounding. It gets a bit weird when the blasts cross over into the clean parts, where it just sounds like the drummer forgot to slow down, but that only happens once. The first minute or so continues like this, before the pace drops down to a sludgy crawl. This approach continues for the remainder of the song, changing enough to keep one's mind occupied, but not so much as to become disjointed. Then "Your Prophetic Throne Of Ivory" kicks off with an atmosphere so morbidly depressing, weaker souls will be reaching for the razors within the first 30 seconds. Of course, it speeds up too, switching things around as much as the first song. But that first section returns later on, and it's just as amazing the second time round.

"Excoriate", on the other hand, is mostly a fast, brutal death metal song, which is then followed by the mellow interlude "Nightside of Eden", which leads into the second half. Here, the music keeps to a more streamlined approach, mostly slower paced and less fractured, with longer songs which allow the listener to sink into the droning depression of it all. "A Burial At Ornans" is easily the most impressive song here. Words are really insufficient to describe this thing, it's just too good to dance about architure, so I won't even bother.

After nearly an hour, you'll feel physically drained if you pay full attention this album. It's either an emotionally scouring experience, or a chore to endure, depending on your personal preferences and mood at the time. The production, too, is much rougher than most similar releases at the time - very resonant and murky, as if the drums and vocals (which consist entirely of a moaning, inhuman bellow) were recorded in an enormous, echoing cavern while the guitars were tracked underwater and filtered through granite. This is especially prominent during the fast section, where the reverb becomes almost overpowering to the music itself. This leads to an album that has rightly become a forgotten gem - couple that with the understated cover and a band photo that looks like an emo band, and it's obvious Disembowelment were going out of their way to remain unnoticed by those who fail to look past the gore-laden artwork and "tough guy" image utilized so much in the early 90's. Methinks this is long overdue for a reissue, but I guess Relapse would rather keep churning out a shitload crappy grindcore, ambient noise and stoner rock like they've been doing for the last 8 years or so. Ah well... if you can find this anywhere, and are prepared for an exceptionally challenging listen, then don't hestitate to pick it up.

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