Transcendence Into The Peripheral

Disembowelment - Transcendence Into The Peripheral ©1993 Relapse
1. The Tree Of Life And Death
2. Your Prophetic Throne Of Ivory
3. Excoriate
4. Nightside Of Eden
5. A Burial At Ornans
6. The Spirits Of The Tall Hills
7. Cerulean Transience Of All My Imagined Shores

Disembowelment called it quits after one album, with two of its members (Renato Gallina and Matt Skarajew) leaving to form the ethno-ambient consort, Trial of the Bow. Though Disembowelment was nominally a doom death band, many of their musical endeavors have more in common with the drifting, dreamlike reverie of Trial of the Bowís Ornamentation EP than, say, Paradise Lost. Transcendence into the Peripheral is exceptionally sparse for a metal album, the music centered on low droning guitar riffing, primitive percussion, and long sustained rasps-shrieks rich with echoing reverb, not so much extreme as otherworldly. Delicately woven threads are draped over the simple rhythmic drone, crisp guitar harmonies hazy and euphoric, offering a rich ambient counterpoint to the ugliness at the musicís core. The songs are long and meandering, slow grinding doom giving way to ethereal soundscapes. Other instruments also make brief appearances; double bass, Tibetan Bells, and drones all contribute to the desolate and barren atmosphere. Some of the songs possess a totally negating quality, where the mind of the listener is rendered completely blank by the trance-inducing music.

Like many albums of this nature, Transcendence into the Peripheral becomes a tad too meandering at times, the riffing just a little too sparse and unchanging given the lengths of the songs. There are moments when the primitive doom death is left a little too long to its own devices, where the ambiance drops off and the riffing gets really tedious. The occasional blast beat (often accompanied by clanging bells) offers relief now and then, however monotonous such things can often be. But in Disembowelment's sound you can hear two separate paths emerging, both of which were further explored by other bands. The dirge-like doom tempos and sparse guitar work are now cornerstones of the so-called funeral doom movement (Skepticism, Esoteric, etc.), while the more ethnic, ambient terrain was brought to the fore by the bandís successor, Trial of the Bow. What we end up with is an extremely underrated, though obviously innovative album in the oft-neglected area of grinding doom death, with just enough ambiance and grit to make it interesting. Trial of the Bow fans are now promptly advised to pick up this album to see where it all started.

Review by James Slone

Review date: 04/2001

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