Over a decade after the Death Metal sledgehammer that was ‘Towards The Megalith’ (2011, Profound Lore Records), Disma are back with this new ‘Earthendium’-EP. After the aforementioned debut, we did get a split 7″ EP (with Convulse, 2013, Doomentia Records) a 12″ EP (‘The Graveless Remains’, 2017, Profound Lore Records), but otherwise it was pretty quiet around the band. Musically at least, because within the band things were rumbling. Now, Disma has never been a band free of controversy and a certain amount of turmoil, but a hefty shuffle in the line-up has changed the band considerably. In 2015, guitarist Daryl Kahan left the band, they changed drummers twice and although vocalist Craig Pillard also left the band briefly, he is now back and also takes charge of the guitars.
After this relatively long silence and somewhat uncertain years, they have apparently been brooding on new material. Still, this new EP pretty much came as a bit of a surprise. The question is, of course, how the unofficial hiatus and the line-up muddle will translate musically.
At first listen, it can be concluded that not a whole lot has changed to the familiar Disma concept. Craig’s old band Incantation still provides the main ingredient, add the band members’ penchant for Swedish (Eternal Darkness, Crematory) and Finnish Death Metal (Purtenance, Convulse) and you have what Disma was and, it turns out, still is. It’s still the ultra-low grunts plowing through a muddy set of mid-tempo drums and low-tuned, grinding guitars. So, all good, you might say. Yes, basocally, but it must also be said that the brilliance seems a little lost – whether that’s because of the departure of Daryl Kahan or because the novelty is a little off, it’s hard to tell. In any case, ‘Earthendium’ does not have the all-devouring character of ‘Towards The Megalith’. But it should be noted that Disma is still (far) above the average level of the current (Old School) Death Metal scene – a scene that is sinking further and further into mediocrity, but from which it seems difficult to stand out from nevertheless.
Summarizing this resurrection of Disma, it is safe to say that fans of the band can purchase this EP (with tremendously great artwork) without a doubt, but the real fireworks are missing. And although the 22-minute playing time of this 3-track EP is perfect for keeping the attention on the songs, it is to be expected that the band will come up with a full-length sequel – and with this all in mind it remains to be seen whether this is and will be a ‘grand return to form’. (FelixS)