I’m going to admit a secret shame of mine: overall, I’m not a death metal person. I’ll rock the fuck out to death metal elements in other forms of metal, like funeral doom or deathgrind, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of the classics – I’d say my three favorite groups are Carcass, Entombed, and Bolt Thrower – but when it comes to the rest of the genre, I’m lost. Too many bands seem to sacrifice songwriting and riffage in favor of either overwhelmingly inaccessible speed and brutality or bland and soulless technical masturbation, so I feel as though I’ve always involuntarily kept the majority of the genre at a distance. So when I received a copy of the new EP from Inverloch, featuring previous members of Disembowelment, I really didn’t know what I was in for until I finally got around to checking out Transcendence into the Peripheral. And good God, was I ever missing out! These guys made some absolutely astounding death/doom way back in 1993, and they’re continuing the legacy on Dusk | Subside with the same mix of impressive musicianship and evocative songwriting.
Dusk | Subside straddles the line between death and doom metal expertly, shifting between the two genres in the middle of a song without sounding bipolar or disjointed – a feat that many “avant-garde” groups could certainly take a page from. Opener “Within Frozen Beauty” builds slowly with a doomy groove, only to be consumed by a furious death metal eruption soon afterwards. There are enough barrages of brutality and polyrhythmic interplay to hold the attention of the most seasoned hesher on the first track, while the second is an entirely different beast – “The Menin Road” is a tortured death march of a track, colossally heavy and monstrous. The funereal lurch combined with subharmonic growls and mournful clean-picked passages calls to mind the greatest works of the unsurpassable Thergothon, or even Ahab‘s legendary The Call of the Wretched Sea. And it’s on the final cut, “Shadows of the Flame,” where they bring everything together. It shifts subtly between raging death metal and a resigned doomy crawl with such expert execution that it’s impossible to tell what genre the song’s really in at any given moment. After their tenure in Disembowelment, the members of Inverloch have proved themselves to be masters of their craft, showing that even almost twenty years later, there are few who can do what they do better. And if they can create such an excellent representation of their musicianship and songwriting skills with only three songs, then the inevitable full-length LP is guaranteed to be a watershed achievement for death/doom. This particular new convert will be waiting with bated breath and sweaty palms until the day of its release, and you certainly will as well once you give Dusk | Subside a listen.
Album: Dusk | Subside
Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: April 10th, 2012