I’m sure everyone’s been there. You know how it is when you watch a really great movie a couple of times and you think it’ll never get old, that the goddamn flawless, unstoppable shine will never wear off but eventually you’ve seen it enough and it’s gotten to the point where you can recite every line in the thing, word for word? Sure, the movie is still in your Top 10 or whatever, but it’s really not a priority to watch it from start to finish ever again. Been there, done that a million times. But then again, there are always the cases where something comes along that stands the vicious test of time and offers something new and innovative. I have, in many instances, found myself in the exact situation with a large part of the newest wave of death and/or thrash bands that has exploded onto the scene the past few years. So many seem completely content with just rehashing what’s been done a billion times before and it gets to the point where the feeling of déjà vu is inescapable. But then, on occasion, from the cesspool of substance-lacking clones and those bands that do what they do just because the kids like it, a band will emerge with something that not only demands the listener’s attention (be it with intriguing cover art or what have you) but follows through by knocking them from their seat as soon as the “play” button is pressed.
Hailing from Laurelville, Ohio, four guys collectively known as Dismemberment have unleashed their independently-released six-song EP, The Condemned, masterfully capturing the art of fucking shredding. Possessing a sound that is simultaneously fresh while giving a nod or two toward what we’ve all loved about black metal and thrash, The Condemned basically takes the form of a hell-spawned juggernaut bound, determined and definitely able to annihilate us all. This is the kind of raging abomination that is born from the combination of classic thrash and death metal, stitched together with unforgiving black metal sentiment.
From the intro of the title track, it quickly becomes apparent that Dismemberment are not here to play games. With thrashing riffs harkening back to the heyday of bands like Kreator and Megadeth, the band introduces you to their own lethal poison. Equal parts catchy and relentless, the rest of the EP follows suit with numbers like “Possessed”, “Triumph of Death” and “Dementia Decay”, which inspire flashbacks of a late 80’s/early 90’s mosh pit and what it feels like to be perfectly happy to be caught up in the rampant cyclone of banging heads and horns flying high. The raw-throated presence of vocalist/guitarist Luke Shively is solid throughout, adding a sizeable amount of cold black metal harshness. On “No Place on Earth, No Rest in Hell”, the band takes an instrumental turn, further showcasing the guillotine-edged, dual guitar attack of the vocalist and fellow guitarist, Jacob Shively. Also on brutal point is the sledge-hammer-from-Hell rhythm section of drummer Taylor Emerine and bassist J.D. Henderly. Closing track, “Cryptic Isolation”, bids farewell to the listener leaving them with the notion that just one or two listens to this EP will simply not be enough. This is the kind of thrashing madness that will never wear out its welcome.
With The Condemned, Dismemberment have stepped into the fire and turned things up to a whole new level when it comes to the standards today’s rookies should strive for. Those itching for some old school destruction as well as fans of the likes of Skeletonwitch or Toxic Holocaust should most definitely find what they’ve been looking for with this one!!