Band: Displeased Disfigurement
Album: Origin Of Abhorrence
Label: CDN Records
Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Country: South Africa
Release Date: June 9, 2017
One thing I have always respected and admired is a band that is prepared to really grind and put the hard work in to their craft. Displeased Disfigurement have been a band since 2001 and over the past 16 years have shown far more commitment and grit than many bands in far more advanced positions than themselves (after all, playing Brutal Death Metal isn’t likely to get you on to national radio). The band worked their way through the ever-growing South African underground metal scene before recording/releasing their 2013 debut full-length effort ‘Extermination Process’. The album received generally positive reviews and got the band on to plenty of decent tours including an opening spot for the Italian Extreme Metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Fast forward to this year and Displeased Disfigurement are gearing up to release their sophomore effort. As the band has progressed they have progressively gotten heavier and leaned further and further towards being a ‘Slam’ band. For the uninitiated let me just quickly explain what that means… Slam Death Metal is a subgenre of Brutal Death Metal that focuses on slow or mid tempo (as well as breakdown-style) sections built on chromatic, palm-muted riffs or so called “slams”. With this in mind the new release ‘Origin Of Abhorrence’ has the potential to be a very dull and repetitive album. However, with a band as gifted as Displeased Disfigurement at the helm we have a completely different story.
The introduction to this album features soundbites from a number of different horror films including I.T (1990), Candyman (1992) and Hellraiser (1987). Which is a cool touch in my opinion as it sets the tone perfectly for a brutally aggressive and horror influenced album. However, with the album only containing nine songs including this brief introduction, I feel that the album would have benefitted more from an actual song rather than quotations from someone else’s’ previous artistic idea. Now, with that little complaint out of the way let’s get in to the meat of the album.
The first taste of new music comes from the track ‘Parasitic Devourment’ and it wastes very little time at all in delivering a wave of pure devastation. The guitars have a deep, distorted tone that sounds incredibly heavy from the outset. The verse riffs are not overly complicated by any stretch of the imagination but that is not the intention here as they serve the purpose of tying in with the bass guitar and drums to push the momentum and crushing power of the song forward. The vocals are clearly very influenced by traditional Death Metal. They are delivered with a very guttural, deep tone (coupled in with very high pitched backing vocals that work brilliantly in unison) and fit in with the surrounding music excellently. Overall this track does its job, which is to lay down the mission statement for the album and give a decent representation of what to expect from the rest of the release.
The next song to really stand is named ‘Infernal Machine’ which I feel is a pretty apt title as drummer Riaan Els resembles a Jackhammer more than a man on this track (and the rest of the album really). His intricate drum fills and break-neck speed double bass pedals give this song the energy and raw power that will no doubt be reducing venues to mere rubble as soon as the band put it in to their setlist. The vocals also step up a gear as frontman/bassist Dominic Vorster delivers a pitch so deep that makes the listener’s internals rumble, once again they are twinned with ear splitting highs that really add to the overall frantic feel of this track. The riffs are very interesting on this song too, as they seem to delve in to the territory of Groove Metal at certain stages rather than your standard low-tune chugs that become so tiring, so quickly for so many bands in this particular sub genre.
The pace really starts to pick up in the middle of this release with the track ‘Malignant Misery’. I honestly didn’t think that it was possible but the pace of the drumming and the technicality that coincides with it hits over drive on this one. The guitars furiously drill away and interlock perfectly with the low-end bass to give this song a real sense of barbarism. This track is designed to cause chaos; nobody will be spared from the swirling vortex of mosh pits that this song will no doubt incite. The only thing that troubles me slightly is the production, I feel that the drum kit could have had a much fully sound, there are times where it sounds almost muted and in my opinion this stifles their impact somewhat. But, maybe that is me being overly critical.
My personal highlight from this album has to be ‘Injected Suffering’. The drums are once again relentless and delivered with surgical precision along with the ferocious high speed riffing. However, in complete contrast to the high velocity music crashing around them, the vocals are delivered in an almost reserved manor. Yes, they are still deep, guttural and almost demonic in nature. But they are delivered at a much more pedestrian speed that really serves well in breaking up the monotony of the constant barrage that is very much overused in the Brutal Death Metal world.
To summarise, I would say that Displeased Disfigurement are most certainly heading in the right direction with ‘Origin Of Abhorrence’. The songs are brutal and well executed with plenty of fresh riffs (although they could attempt to push themselves a little harder with regards to their lead guitar parts) coupled in with some impressive vocal lines throughout it’s almost too brief nine song duration. The production is decent for the vast majority. However, the album does suffer in places due to the final mix (another common problem with albums of this genre) with some parts becoming a little muddy, making it rather hard to distinguish certain key moments. A thoroughly enjoyable album, but there is still some room for improvement.
2. Parasitic Devourment
3. Anglestic Subjection
4. Infernal Machine
5. Malignant Misery
6. Illuminated Race
8. Injected Suffering
9. Human Cattle
Total Playing Time: 35:57