Fans of legendary doom/death pioneers Disembowelment rejoiced en masse this April when guitarist Matthew Skarajew and drummer Paul Mazziotta announced that they would be taking to the stage with a number of other musicians to perform all of the band’s classic ‘Transcendence into the Peripheral’, and with good reason too. Disembowelment’s bizarrely profound concoction of filthy old school death metal, vast, resonant doom and eerie soundscapes remains utterly peerless to this day, redefining the doom genre and influencing a whole multitude of lesser acts in the process. Sweetening the deal even further, the new lineup also revealed that they would be continuing to make music under the name Inverloch. Of course, comparisons to their previous band are going to be unavoidable (especially considering that the project grew out of what was essentially a Disembowelment tribute), and so expectations are high for this, their first recorded output under this name - but how does ‘Dusk | Subside’ hold up to the band’s classic works?
After a subtle, atmospheric introduction, all hell breaks loose around 2 minutes in; with little or no warning, a full on death metal onslaught storms into view like an out of control tornado. The inclusion of a soaring melodic lead differs from Disembowelment’s bleak sonic swamp, but otherwise this track mines similar territory to previous efforts. A wide and darkly majestic riff brings the song to a standstill, suddenly breaking into a creepy ambient mist, strangely reminiscent of much of Lustmord’s early work. The dense, suffocating atmosphere of ‘The Menin Road’ offers no remorse, with an incredibly melancholy, glacial melody that slowly unfurls over the course of the song, gradually drawing you deeper and deeper until there is no escape from its all-consuming darkness. A true pleasure to behold, and one that will surely send funeral doom fans’ taste buds into overdrive. The intoxicating, reverb laden clean guitars that ring out through the mire of distortion on ‘Shadows of the Flame’ is perhaps the most explicitly Disembowelment-y moment on this EP, and the furious blastbeats and spacious, crushing riffery that follow ensure that this track stands as one of the disc’s most engaging highlights.
Given that they only share two members with Disembowelment, it’s almost surprising just how much Inverloch’s sound resembles that of their previous incarnation, although ‘Dusk | Subside’ covers a lot of ground in little over 20 minutes, and feels slightly more schizophrenic than Disembowelment ever did. The sound is a little more polished, but doesn’t quite have the same evil atmosphere as ‘Transcendence…’ That said, taken in its own right, ‘Dusk | Subside’ manages to conjure up a distinct aura that is all its own, tipping its hat to past endeavours whilst moving boldly forward into the future. Given its relatively short duration, the EP doesn’t provide quite enough time to fully immerse yourself, but if this EP is serving as a taster for an upcoming full length (much like Disembowelment’s ‘Dusk’ EP did for ‘Transcendence…’) then I imagine we have a real treat in store. Disembowelment fans need to pick this up as soon they can, and for anyone else who enjoys doom and the darker depths of death metal, this is a very worthy purchase indeed.