diSEMBOWELMENT - Dusk (1992)Release ID: 907

diSEMBOWELMENT - Dusk (1992) Cover
Ben Ben / January 15, 2019 / Comments 0 / 1

It may not be essential given the eventual fate of these tracks, but Dusk is the start of something truly special.

diSEMBOWELMENT (yes, that’s how they wrote it and don’t ask me why) were a very dark and haunting death doom metal band formed in Melbourne, Australia in November of 1989. They’re a band I’m particularly proud of, as I consider them to be the very best thing to ever come out of my home country, at least from a metal music perspective. I don’t believe they ever performed live (they spoke about doing so but it never eventuated) and released very little material, yet their legacy is kept alive by an ever growing army of fans and continues to expand with sites like Rate Your Music continuing to spread the word. Originally consisting of guitarist/vocalist Renato Gallina and drummer Paul Mazziotta, these guys released a couple of demos, this EP, and one astounding full length album before calling it quits for reasons not completely known (at least I’ve never come across them). Often quoted as one of the instigators of the funeral doom metal movement, diSEMBOWELMENT created some of the slowest and most crushingly depressive music that the metal scene had experienced to that point. Significantly though, the band still managed to integrate blast beats and double bass kicking into it, resulting in a truly unique and fascinating sound that surprisingly hasn’t really been explored by many bands since. They are the truest form of death doom metal being a perfect combination of the two.

The Dusk EP is the first official diSEMBOWELMENT release, but it wasn’t always meant to be that way. Their first demo, which was recorded in September 1990 and titled Mourning September, had a fairly shoddy production and the band hadn’t quite nailed the despondent, alien atmosphere that would eventually make them so special. The second demo however, called Deep Sensory Perception into Aural Fate, was far more impressive from both a production and structural point of view. Almost all the pieces had come together by this point and the band had really found their distinct character. It’s worth pointing out that Jason Kells had joined the band as a second guitarist prior to the recording and it was these three members that produced the two tracks that made up the 26 minute cassette. The two tracks included were The Tree of Life and Death and A Burial at Ornans which are two of the tracks that would eventually make it onto the Transcendence Into the Peripheral full length album some two years later, albeit in superior form. The first two tracks on Dusk are the exact same recordings as the ones found on the above demo, but with a large adjoining section removed. Relapse, who clearly liked what they heard on Deep Sensory Perception Into Aural Fate and signed the band immediately, obviously felt there was no need to re-record anything and simply shortened them instead.

The more observant reader might be wondering how the inclusion of third track Cerulean Transience of All My Imagined Shores, which would also end up on the eventual full length, came about given all of the above. The answer is that it was specifically recorded for Dusk in January 1992 and actually contains an altered line-up to the first two tracks. Matthew Skarajew came onboard for bass duties for the recording, meaning Cerulean Transience of All My Imagined Shores is the only track on dusk to contain the complete diSEMBOWELMENT line-up. The track is the first example of the band utilising the very bizarre and immensely moving singular picked notes that overlay the distortion that would become more prominent on Transcendence Into the Peripheral, and is probably my favourite track by the band. Judging Dusk in its correct context would result in me giving it a very high rating, but it’s difficult to critique it objectively when experiencing it after years of listening to and adoring Transcendence Into the Peripheral. The recording is perfectly adequate and the tracks themselves would not be altered all that much before reaching their final forms, but there’s no pressing reason to listen to it these days. There’s also no real motivation to track this particular EP down when you can simply pick up the Disembowelment compilation released in 2005 that contains everything the band ever recorded. Still, this is the beginning of something very special indeed!

Daniel Daniel / April 24, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

Being an Australian extreme metal fanatic from way back in the late 1980's, it was perhaps inevitable that I'd possess a strong passion for arguably our most significant metal export (at least from purely an influential & creative sense) in Melbourne's masters of the doom/death sound diSEMBOWELMENT. I'd suggest that very few diehard fans suffer from as complete an infatuation as I do with this band though. I simply worship the ground they walk on & back in the early 1990's I thought of them as being a lot more than mere humans. Without actually knowing the band members, it was very hard for me to envisage them as being every-day people given the remarkably dark, unique & generally foreign sounds they managed to conjure up. I was talking to Bjorn from Grave Upheaval, Grotesque Bliss & Temple Nightside about them the other day & he shares my infatuation to a similar scale so it's not just me. diSEMBOWELMENT had a way of encapsulating everything that was so wonderful about the early 90's extreme metal scene &, to make things even more intense for a young Aussie, they were also from my home country which was a rarity for the elite metal artists in the world at the time. While there's no doubt at all that 1993's "Transcendence Into the Peripheral" album was a game-changer for the global doom/death scene though, for Bjorn & I it was diSEMBOWELMENT's 1992 E.P. "Dusk" that first saw that door opening & I've never felt that it received the respect it deserved because it's a remarkable release in its own right, particularly when you consider that it was the band's first proper release & that there was nothing out there that sounded anything like it at the time.

I was lucky enough to pick up an original copy of the "Dusk" E.P. as well as diSEMBOWELMENT's second demo tape "Deep Sensory Procession Into Aural Fate" by sending cash to the band in the mail. I can't quite remember the timeline for that taking place in respect to "Transcendence Into the Peripheral" but I think it's fair to say that all three releases would be placed on their own individual pedestals in my teenage bedroom from the time they first hit my ears. I even sought out the band's early 1990 "Mourning September" demo tape through the tape trading scene, a release that I found to be pretty decent without ever hinting at the same levels of euphoria as I'd received from diSEMBOWELMENT's subsequent efforts. It's interesting that, despite the clear crossover of material between the three most significant releases, I still think that all of them should be considered to be essential as they each bring something a little different to the table in terms of timbre & texture. None of them are particularly polished (which I strongly suspect was intentional) but there's definitely enough variation to keep things interesting.

The "Dusk" E.P. is a half-hour long affair that includes what were arguably diSEMBOWELMENT's finest three tracks so how could it not be a completely mind-blowing experience? It opens with the band's calling card in "The Tree of Life & Death", a nine-minute piece that begins with one of diSEMBOWELMENT's more brutal & blasting death metal passages before descending into the mire with some of the darkest extreme doom metal we'd heard to the time. It's a clear indication of the thick, oppressive atmosphere this band was capable of creating even at such an early point in their recording careers. The version we have here is remarkably similar to the one we receive on the debut full-length in September of 1993 too, perhaps having been given the time to fully develop after first being birthed on 1991's classic "Deep Sensory Procession Into Aural Fate" demo. This is followed by the epic twelve-minute "Burial at Ornans", another reenactment from the second demo tape & a piece which I feel still had a bit of work to do before reaching its most complete realization on "Transcendence Into the Peripheral". This is the reason for me not being able to reach full marks for "Dusk" actually as "Burial at Ornans" simply feels a little less complete than it would in the near future with some of the less doomy sections not maintaining such an elite level & the track lacking some of the atmospherics that it would gain on the album version. Eight-minute closer "Cerulean Transience of All My Imagined Shores" is another story altogether though & brings with it the most transcendental aura, transporting me to wonderfully dark & obscure places that I'd never imagined existed before. Although I do feel that the album version is a little more polished & complete, this doesn't diminish the impact of what is undeniably one of the earlier examples of the funeral doom metal genre to hit a proper release. The sum of these three classic works leaves me succumbing to pure devastation & infatuation, very much in awe of my elder countrymen.

While "Dusk" may not quite be as fully realized as "Transcendence Into the Peripheral" was, all of the ingredients were already there to see the global metal scene receiving one of the true greats at their chosen craft. I mean, if this had ended up being the only diSEMBOWELMENT release then one gets the feeling that it would have received far more attention & be referenced by a wealth of extreme doom bands as being highly influential. As it stands though, I can't recommend "Dusk" enough. The monstrous vocals of guitarist Renato Gallina are as scary as you'll ever find in music & the instrumentation around them brings to mind the feeling of being a young child lost in the darkest of forests in the blackest of midnights with drummer Paul Mazziotta's blast-beats being used over the slowest, doomiest riffs imaginable in such a fashion that was completely unheard of at the time. The production is absolutely spot-on too, leaving layers of filth & decay in the guitar tone that works to further accentuate the sheer weight on the diSEMBOWELMENT sound. Perhaps I'm biased given my personal interactions with the band at such a young age (even if it was by mail) but I feel that I'm mature enough to be able to see the forest through the trees these days so I implore anyone who thinks bands like Spectral Voice, Winter or diSEMBOWELMENT's younger sibling Inverloch are where it's at to seek out "Dusk" as I have no doubt that you'll be dazzled by what the true masters of the doom/death genre had to offer way back in 1992.


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diSEMBOWELMENT chronology