Dismal Divinity – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Man, talk about exceeding expectations.  ‘Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam’, the debut release from Puerto Rican band Dismal Divinity, is a stunning opening volley from this five-piece.  The art might make you think of an epic, oldschool death/thrash band, but what you’ll hear when you put this disc in is ULTRA-brutal death metal in the vein of newer Brodequin with some oldschool Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel touches!  Really, if that description doesn’t make you immediately want to run out (figuratively, you’ll have to get it online unless you live in Puerto Rico) and buy it, you’re not my friend and I’d like you to stop reading this review now.  But if you must, FINE, I don’t have to fucking impress you.

This is some BRUTAL death metal here.  Almost impossibly so.  This almost reminds me of Enmity’s ‘absolute brutality at all costs’ mindset during the purest, most grinding blast sections, but Dismal Divinity is able to pack a surprising amount of variation into these violent songs.  Tempo changes and breaks are frequent, even occasionally breaching the gates of slow, epic, doom-influenced sections, right before bursting back into utterly savage hyperspeed death metal.  Some parts that could be loosely described as breakdowns are present, but this music isn’t really related to Devourment or other artists of the slam ilk; it’s mostly pure, brutal death metal.  Think of it as a more interesting and creative version of Hate Eternal, or what Hate Eternal is striving to be but never reaches.  Every element on this album is designed to be dark, menacing, and destructive, with an atmosphere of medieval war about it.

The production job on this album is amazing; it’s not crystal clear, but it fits the style of music perfectly.  There’s a slightly claustrophobic jumbling of instrumental sound, like the whole band is playing very fast and very loud in a small closet; it sounds like a live recording.  There’s a certain looseness in timing and structure which makes ‘Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam’ that much more barbaric in tone.  It could be said that this is more influenced by oldschool death metal than other modern brutal death bands; some midpaced passages like Cannibal Corpse are present on tracks like ‘Abandoned By The Sun’, and some of the brooding, atonal riffing of ‘Covenant’-era Morbid Angel can be found throughout.  But anything that makes this album seem less savage and dogmatic seems to be a ridiculous statement, because while there are bands that are faster, noisier, and more guttural than Dismal Divinity, few carry the same aura of total devastation and extreme hatred that these guys do.

Nothing more needs to be said.  Any self-respecting fan of brutal death metal needs to pick this album up immediately.  If you’re looking for ‘Methods Of Execution II’, look no further: Dismal Divinity is here to sate the bloodlust of even the most jaded death metaller.  If Dismal Divinity was a military entity, it’d be a Viking berserker.  One of the best brutal death debuts I’ve had the privilege to hear in years.


~ by noktorn on May 20, 2008.

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