Proto-Funeral Doom/Drone grinders diSEMBOWELMENT were, in many ways, the definition of ‘kvlt’, having played zero live shows, recorded one EP, Dusk, and one seminal – now regarded as ‘classic’ – LP, Transcendence Into The Peripheral, in the early nineties before disappearing off the face of the earth, save for a memory-jerking 2005 re-release/repackage of both recordings with a few extras, it seemed like they were destined to fade into nothing more than fondly-remembered obscurity.
However, emerging from the shadows after what seems like an age – in a fashion not too dissimilar to the recent return of Winter – two founder members of diSEMBOWELMENT, guitarist Matthew Skarajew and drummer Paul Mazziotta, have returned with a new project not a million miles away from their original band stylistically but light years ahead of them in terms of productivity.
Having already performed diSEMBOWELMENT material live on a number of relatively high-profile occasions, confusingly under the name d.USK and using the exact same personnel that make up Inverloch, Skarajew and Mazziotta have now retired the diSEMBOWELMENT material in order to fully concentrate on Inverloch, and who can blame them?
No musician worth their salt actually wants to thrive on nostalgia, especially when they’re still a creative force – which Inverloch collectively quite clearly are, based upon the material present on Dusk…Subside.
Joined by bassist Tony Bryant, second guitarist Mark Cullen and vocalist Ben James, Inverloch make their presence felt quietly, initially. ‘Within Frozen Beauty’ fades in with twanging reverbed-out guitar, chiming, twinkling subtleties and ominous low end before exploding into full-pelt grinding death metal riffing, propulsive blast-beats and cavernous growls. It’s one hell of a shock to the system, to be violently jerked into focus like that, and so it is that Inverloch grab the listener forcefully by the scruff of the neck and hold on tight near-enough from the get-go. Aggressive grinding is soon superseded by epic riffage and Schuldiner-esque leads until that too melts away into an shadowy twilight whispering abyss.
Emerging on the other side of the veil comes the grandiose doom of ‘The Menin Road’, as controlled and restrained as the previous track was frenzied and unpredictable. Crawling along at a snail’s pace, a landscape of chords like jagged rocks is threaded through with crystalline guitar and the horrid gurgling of an inhuman throat. Like an infinitely filthier take on stately funeral doom, Inverloch remind us of exactly why disEMBOWELMENT were so well-regarded by those in the know.
Closing proceedings is the lengthy ‘Shadows Of The Flame’, a track that begins with the massive chords and piano-like chiming guitar of the previous track and then flips straight into berserker mode, grinding away maniacally. Militaristically precise blasts skate across crawling chugs as James’s vocals assume a throatier, phlegmy hue. The blasting drums continue as the guitar mutates into a Death-like tremolo-picked section that made me grin from ear to ear. Floridian death metal indeed! The rest of the track shifts from a wickedly scything slow chug embroidered with echoing clean guitar parts and eventually fades from earshot into that ever-yawning abyss with only echoing drums clearly audible to the bitter end.
The main players in Inverloch may have been out of the game for a while, but Dusk…Subside is sure-fire proof that the band are more than capable of keeping up with, and in some cases exceeding, most of the better-thought-of young guns of a similar ilk who have arisen since the nineties.
With their wild mood-swings between primordial crawl and savage grinding death, Inverloch are sure to win over fans of bands such as Cephalic Carnage – who should surely be looking nervously over their collective shoulder since Inverloch have perfected something that they themselves have only intermittently and infrequently managed to get right, and done so with consummate ease.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson