Five years after the release of Misery, Disentomb return with a vicious offering of Brutal Death Metal. The Decaying Light is bleak, instilling a sense of hopelessness as the band weaves their way through labyrinthine riffs under a crushing atmosphere. Jordan James bellows apocalyptic sermons of gloom over the entire package, intensifying the feeling of dread.
Right out of the gate this album just feels heavy, in terms of atmosphere as well as brutality. The production is a little muddy, and the vocals can get lost under the rest of the band, but this does little to detract from the overall sound. Disentomb have a unique style of Brutal Death, mixing short bursts of tremolo picking with chugging chords, and plenty of finger aerobics in-between. While every band members performance is super tight, the song writing lacks focus and just kind of jumps from riff to riff. The lack of fluid transition along with the hyper-technical style this band brings to the table leaves the music feeling disjointed, and nothing really ends up sticking. Every now and then a riff or a passage will shine through the madness and demand attention, but these moments don't stay around for long. There are exceptions though, a few of the tracks travel into slower territory and really excel at creating a dismal, memorable atmosphere.
These inconsistencies are lessened somewhat though through Henri Sison's phenomenal drumming, which I think is easily one of 'The Decaying Light's biggest strength. Brutal Death Metal is so often plagued by boring repetitive drumming that Henri's unique style instantly brings this album up a notch or two. There are plenty of moments where it would be appropriate to charge ahead with the technicality, but the way he is able to subvert expectations by showing restraint creates an elegance that isn't really heard anywhere in the genre. The drumming is tasteful! In a genre where tastefulness is the last descriptor that comes to mind, this is a breath of fresh air. Well, as fresh as air can get in an apocalyptic hellscape anyway.
Clocking in at around 45 minutes, The Decaying Light is a massive slab of Brutal Death that just slightly overstays its welcome. While the writing can be unfocused, the songs are not painful to sit through and are usually over before I know it. If you feel a need for pure brutality, this will certainly scratch that itch. Disentomb is one of the more exciting bands in this genre, and this release continues to show their maturation and dedication to their unique brand of Brutal Death Metal.