Artist: Through the Eyes of the Dead
2017 has been a year of comebacks across several genres and even more continents. Eras of death metal, deathcore, post-hardcore—you get the picture—have been rediscovered through new releases from the genre’s forebearers. And to speak of “forebearer” and the genre “deathcore” in one sentence is to speak of East Coast ultra-heavyweights, Through the Eyes of the Dead. One of the first—and best—to mix harsh, brazen and bold hardcore with lacerating death metal laced with a thread of terrifying technicality. Disomus is the band’s triumphant return to form after a lengthy hiatus—one that sees them casting asunder all things trendy that plague the contemporary scene, and, instead offering to infuse it with riff-driven, blast-beat-boasting, hyper-brutal mayhem. An energetic mass of murderous aggression that trudges through slow, sludgy depths to reach moments of both melodic, symphonic atmosphere and track after track of scathing, sharply-written (and even more sharply played) riffing that stands to slice the listener cleanly in twain. While they’ve been quiet for some time, and Disomus might be a relatively brief offering of their prowess, they will fill a hole in the listener’s heart that they might not have even known they had.
Disomus is an adventure through all things heavy—and like any good aural adventure, it starts with the instrumental soundscape. When it comes to combining elements of technicality, aggression and blunt, tactless rage into one sinister, soul-smothering display of devastation, few have ever done it with the expertise that Through the Eyes of the Dead have done it—and in case you forgot, Disomus is here to remind you. Percussionist Michael Ranne is ruthless from start to finish, letting loose with speed and intensity that expertly drops off into moments of dissonant, dreary atmosphere without warning. Songs like the sprawling and spacious “Vortices in the Stygian Maelstrom” see Ranne’s drumming both on a pinpoint of technical precision, without being afraid to drop off entirely into cavernous, bleak and arid atmosphere. This is a stark contrast to the whirlwind, whiplash-inducing “Hate the Living,” wherein Ranne’s drumming is a ravenous foundation for the grisly and snappy basswork from bouncy groovesmith Jake Ososkie. Ososkie adds heft to even the fastest moments of Ranne’s drumming—the blast-beat fueled “Obitual” or the overwhelming onslaught that defines “Dismal,” which is exactly what the name might imply. All the while, with speedy drumming, hefty bass and a heavy-to-ambient dynamic that shames the writing of many of the band’s (past and present) peers, Ososkie and Ranne are, in their purest form, the firmament for guitarists Steven Funderburk and Justin Longshore to unleash all sorts of Hell. Practically every song on Disomus sees the duo shredding, chugging and riffing their way into the listener’s skull, one note at a time. “Hate the Living” is a straightforward dose of adrenaline, alternating quickly plucked riffs with stuttering breakdowns straight outta the late 2000s. Meanwhile, songs like the goliath “Vortices in the Stygian Maelstrom” are different, combining more ethereality and feeling (aside from pure hatred) into the writing—this is where Funderburk and Longshore shine. Solos weave in and out from between groovy breakdowns and simply great riffs; a formula that proves as true on the aforementioned numbers as it does on “Haruspex” or “Teras,” or really any song Dismous and this deadly duo put forth.
When Through the Eyes of the Dead planned their resurrection, they weren’t content with a return to force limited to instrumental intensity. Frontman Danny Rodriguez absolutely dominates, capturing a variety of ranges, emotions and styles throughout the whirlwind that is Disomus. From the opening vocal salvos of “Hate the Living,” Rodriguez is ruthless, going for the throat and ending up simply decapitating the listener with shrill shrieks and bitter, buff and burly low bellows. This continues with “Of Mortals, We Once Were,” which sees Rodriguez’s range not only sprawling in style, but capturing desperation, energy and—above all—anger. Disomus consumes the listener’s head like a misanthropic plague, urging it to give in to pure, primal sensations of malevolent hatred, where in the voice doing the urging just so happens to be that of Through the Eyes of the Dead’s resident preacher or intense pestilence. Lyrically and vocally built on aggression, Disomus‘ vocal element is complex in its technical prowess, but rudimentary in its approach and attempts to invigorate the listener’s less sensible and more sinister side—something it does excellently.
With every comeback there are always expectations placed upon the band that may or may not be warranted. In the case of the Through the Eyes of the Dead, the expectations were surely stacked sky high—yet, they made a seemingly effortless run at achieving them in just about every field but one: the duration. While Disomus is no short album by any means—clocking in at just over a full, furious half-an-hour, it still feels like it leaves the listening hanging, begging for one more lasting display of depraved brutality. This “problem,” if you choose to call it that is a short lived one, and easily fixed by smashing the ever living Hell out of the “replay” button. Through the Eyes of the Dead have re-emerged in triumphant form, bringing back nostalgia with an invigorating twist of something new and evil—giving fans new and old reason to rejoice.
For Fans Of: A Thousand Times Repent, Knives Exchanging Hands, Ingested, Cholera, Impending Doom
By: Connor Welsh