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Disincarnate | Dreams of the Carrion Kind | review | metal | Lollipop
Dreams of the Carrion Kind (Roadrunner)
by Tim Den
Roadrunner reissues yet another long-overdue historical death metal album, this time not a two-in-one but a deluxe repackaging/remastered version of Dreams of the Carrion Kind by Disincarnate. For those unfamiliar, Disincarnate was formed by guitarist James Murphy in '92 after he spent the previous few years making a name for himself with Death, Obituary, and Cancer. His reputation as a progressive, fluid, and eerily melodic creative force spread like wild fire at the time, as his combination of clean picking, effortless slides, and jazz/fusion theories made classic albums out of everything he played on.
Eager to have his own songs heard (he was barely allowed to contribute to any of his previous bands), Disincarnate was nontheless also a collaborative effort between Murphy and his bandmates (vocalist Bryan Cegon, rhythm guitarist Jason Carmen, and drummer Tommy Viator). Everyone contributed creatively, Murphy smartly kept his ego in check (many had predicted Disincarnate to be a wankfest), and a dark album of brutal doom and psychosis was born. Under the mechanical cleanliness of producer Colin Richardson's trademark touch, Dreams of the Carrion Kind came out ominous, hallucinogenic (just look at that cover art), sublime, and most of all, beautifully choreographed. Murphy took his understanding of solos (don't over- or under-play: Play when you need to, make it count, make it original, and make it intelligent) and applied it to riffing, arranging, and harmonizing. The album is filled with dizzying tempo changes that never feel out of place, counter-rhythms that expand the songs in multiple directions, and surrealistic lyrics akin to H.P Lovecraft/Clive Barker. And let's not forget the crushing grooves. Like most death metal albums of the era, Dreams of the Carrion Kind gave as many blasts as it gave breakdowns. I remember "Beyond the Flesh," "Confine of Shadows," and especially "Deadspawn" making me completely lose my shit upon first listen: Whirpools grabbing your torso and shaking it like a leaf. Not dumbed-down 4/4s either, always smart as well as brutal. As I said, counter-rhythms. You can build an entire universe of moshpits with 'em.
11 years after its release, Dreams of the Carrion Kind still sounds more melodically and rhythmically daring than any of today's "fashion metal" bands (Bleeding Through, Killswitch Engage, etc.). A monolithic piece of death metal architecture, Dreams of the Carrion Kind remains aggressively complex and a rewarding listen deserving of its cult status. Here's to hoping a second album eventually happens (get well soon, James!).
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P.S.: The '92 Soul Erosion demo is also included here, featuring the distinct (and always ridiculously marvelous) drumming of then-omnipotent Alex Marquee (whatever happened to that guy? Didn't he get arrested for armed robbery or something?). Nice chunky bass sound, too. Too bad the dude didn't stick around for the full-length.
P.P.S.: Does anybody else remember that a second Disincarnate line-up had been created as early as '95? Or that Tomas Lindberg was at one point its appointed frontman? Anybody?