Album Title: With All Their Might
Label: Unique Leader Records
Date of Release: 15 September 2017
Generally speaking, I’d class myself as a metalhead with a penchant for more intricate and complex compositions as well as having a love of melody and a weakness for guitar solos and over-the-top flamboyance. I’m also someone who typically shies away from the hardcore genre because I’m not a fan of the more ‘shouty’ and deliberately confrontational and/or political stance that many of these bands display.
So then, why am I so beguiled by the new Dyscarnate record, ‘With All Their Might’, given that it features no guitar solos, next to nothing in terms of prog-like complexity and is straight-up brutal death metal that flirts with elements of hardcore? I could scratch my head for ages and pretend to mull over the answer. Or, I could be honest immediately and shout the following from the rooftops:
It’s because ‘With All Their Might’ is heavy, uncompromising, brutal and groovy as all hell.
And, despite my comments in the opening paragraph, I am also a metalhead that, on occasion, cannot resist something that is more straightforward, concise and which gets my bald head nodding more vigorously that Kerry King on steroids. Enter Dyscarnate.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Dyscarnate are a Shropshire, UK-based trio that were founded in 2004 and to date, have released two full-length albums, an EP and a demo. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Tom Whitty, bassist/vocalist Al Llewellyn and drummer Matt Unsworth, they have made a positive impact in the metal underground, culminating in some very positive reviews both of their recorded output and their live shows, most notably from Metal Hammer’s Dom Lawson.
It’s not hard to understand why either, because these west country boys make one hell of a racket that cannot be ignored. And, once heard, has to be listened to again and again because it is so damn groovy, so wonderfully infectious and so gloriously heavy. At times, I simply cannot believe that such a full and bold sound can come from just three musicians.
The first I heard of this record was ‘Iron Strengthens Iron’, which aired recently as the first ‘single’ for ‘With All Their Might’. And it’s safe to say that it was verging on love at first listen. The grooves are colossal, the intensity is evident right from the off and it is relentless in the way that it steamrollers everything in its path. This has got to be one of the standout extreme metal songs of the year.
The thing is, Dyscarnate don’t stop there. In fact, ‘Iron…’ acts as a very good marker for the quality that is consistent through the remaining seven songs. So much so that before I know it, the album is at an end and I’m left breathless but wanting more. Like a committed masochist, I have spent the better part of 40 minutes being beaten with a sledgehammer, yet I still want more. The old adage states that a good artist should always leave the crowd wanting more, and that’s what Dyscarnate have achieved here with aplomb.
The opening duo of ‘Of Mice And Mountains’ and ‘This Is Fire!’ are something to behold, they really are. ‘Of Mice And Mountains’ offers bucket loads of groove, writhing monstrous riffs, razor-sharp drumming and spiteful gruff vocals delivered by both Whitty and Llewellyn. This dual vocal approach is certainly an added string to the bow for Dyscarnate because although both spew forth their diatribes in extreme fashion, their pitch and tone is discernibly different, meaning that you get a deeper growl and a slightly higher rasp working expertly in tandem.
If the groove in the opener was pronounced, ‘This Is Fire!’ takes things to the next level. I find it utterly impossible not to nod my head or walk without matching my pace and gait to the infectious tempo of this behemoth of a song. The monotone segment in the latter stages is inspired as is the rousing outro that could go on even longer if it really wanted.
After the aforementioned ‘Iron Strenthens Iron’ comes ‘Traitors In The Palace’ and, if anything, the pace is slowed even further into undoubted doom metal territory. Make no mistake that this is still brutal and savage death metal but the doom vibe, accentuated by the casual tolling of a bell, is very much at the forefront of the track. The pace increases marginally at first and then more markedly in the closing stages thanks to some brighter staccato-like riffs and a greater urgency in the drumming.
‘To End All Flesh Before Me’ mixes a swirling barrage of killer riffs with blastbeats and a chorus that veers dangerously close to ‘catchy’ territory, not that this is a bad thing at all as far as I’m concerned. ‘Backbreaker’ meanwhile, should be re-named ‘neck breaker’ such is its undiluted power and groove.
A thrash-like riff acts as the introduction to ‘All The Devils Are Here’ before normal service is resumed and we’re pummelled into quivering submission by the bombardment of brutal intensity, albeit with a little more in terms of variation here and there. I love the fact that the bass is so audible in the mix and whilst it is an important ingredient throughout, it really makes its presence known within this track.
‘Nothing Seems Right’ brings this slab of almighty brutality to a close, complete with dark atmosphere and more melody than at any point in the previous seven songs. It has a little longer to develop at nearly eight minutes, but the dramatic and foreboding intro is stunning as are the simple melodies that are embedded into the initial slow, lumbering riff that makes further welcome appearances as the composition develops.
In keeping with the tone and output of this record, I shall keep my conclusion simple and to-the-point. ‘With All Their Might’ is a brutal behemoth of a record, making it easily one of the best and most satisfying death metal albums of 2017.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.25
If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from previous years and for 2017 right here:
Subterranean Masquerade – Vagabond
Adagio – Life
Paradise Lost – Medusa
The Haunted – Strength In Numbers
Serious Black – Magic
Leprous – Malina
The Lurking Fear – Out of the Voiceless Grave
Prospekt – The Illuminated Sky
Wintersun – The Forest Seasons
Witherfall – Nocturnes And Requiems
Tuesday The Sky – Drift
Anthriel – Transcendence
Decapitated – Anticult
Cosmograf – The Hay-Man Dreams
Orden Ogan – Gunmen
Iced Earth – Incorruptible
Anathema – The Optimist
Solstafir – Berdreyminn
Dream Evil – Six
Avatarium – Hurricanes And Halos
Ayreon – The Source
Until Rain – Inure
MindMaze – Resolve
God Dethroned – The World Ablaze
Bjorn Riis – Forever Comes To An End
Voyager – Ghost Mile
Big Big Train – Grimspound
Lonely Robot – The Big Dream
Firespawn – The Reprobate
Pyramaze – Contingent
Shores Of Null – Black Drapes For Tomorrow
Asira – Efference
Hologram Earth – Black Cell Program
Damnations Day – A World Awakens
Memoriam – For The Fallen
Pallbearer – Heartless
Sleepmakeswaves – Made of Breath Only
Ghost Ship Octavius – Ghost Ship Octavius
Vangough – Warpaint
Telepathy – Tempest
Obituary – Obituary
Fen – Winter
Havok – Conformicide
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Nova Collective – The Further Side
Immolation – Atonement
The Mute Gods – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
Pyogenesis – A Kingdom To Disappear
My Soliloquy – Engines of Gravity
Nailed To Obscurity – King Delusion
Helion Prime – Helion Prime
Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain
Persefone – Aathma
Soen – Lykaia
Exquirla – Para Quienes Aun Viven
Odd Logic – Effigy
Mors Principium Est – Embers Of A Dying World
Firewind – Immortals
Slyde – Back Again EP
Sepultura – Machine Messiah
Deserted Fear – Dead Shores Rising
Kreator – Gods Of Violence
Borealis – World of Silence MMXVII
Pain of Salvation – In The Passing Light of Day