Funeral Doom Friday: DISEMBOWELMENT's Genre-Defining Classic, Transcendence Into the Peripheral
Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
It has been a minute since we have delved into a classic album, don't you think? With as many times as this column has referenced the mighty diSEMBOWELMENT, it really only seems fitting to take the time to give their classic album, Transcendence into the Peripheral, the coverage it deserves. As many knows, the mighty Australians no longer operate under the diSEMBOWELMENT moniker. Yet, a couple of its members have made recent contributions in death doom. Most notably, Paul Mazziotta and Matt Skarajew formed d.USK, which became Inverloch, back in 2011. Let's go back to 1994, however.
Transcendence into the Peripheral has become transcendent itself. In the 23 years since its release, it continues to influence many of today's brightest bands (see the recent Spectral Voice for example). It is not hard to see why it has held up so well over the years also. Renato Gallina's vomitous growls and ominous chants bring an immediate diversity to diSEMBOWELMENT's music. Yet, it is within the arrangements themselves where much of the band's majesty lies. Deconstructing the album into its individual pieces yields moments that, in one instance, overwhelm, and in other instances, subdue. "The Tree of Life and Death", a wonderful example of both cases, brings a thunderous introduction to the album. Furious bursts of death metal ebb and flow against doomed segments where everything slows to a crawl.
diSEMBOWELMENT flirted with outright funeral doom as well. Album finale, "Cerulean Transience of All My Imagined Shores", is perhaps the most poignant moment of Transcendence… As if the song title wasn't evocative enough, the somber strings draw a melancholic tone that resembles fellow Aussies Mournful Congregation—well before they began to fully develop their sound. Much of the meat of the album sees Skarajew and Mazziotta, along with Renato Gallina and Jason Kells, develop an extreme brand of death doom metal.
The quartet sheds a lot of the gothic qualities that dominated some of the early Peaceville sounds and began to mirror heavier and more disorienting tones, similar to early Esoteric. It would have been interesting to see if the group veered more into true funeral doom or continued to make a similar kind of death doom. Unfortunately, diSEMBOWELMENT would not carry on to see more releases. While it would have been great to see what could have transpired for the band; we can thankfully enjoy an absolute classic in death doom.