Dismemberment- Embrace the Dark (The Black Birch)

Blackened thrash fun.
Release Date: 
1 Feb 2014 (All day)

If my last review hinted at fatigue towards some of the more played-out elements of metal, you should know that such feelings are fleeting. For as soon as something like this lands in my inbox, the fatigue fades and I feel young again. Just look at the artwork; a dagger, arcane runes and a naked lady? Looks like a lot of fun to me.

Dismemberment are a four-piece thrash band from Laurelville Ohio and Embrace the Dark is their debut LP effort. I say thrash band, not in the sense that thrash is the entirety of their sound, but rather that thrash serves as a strong foundation to build their sound on. There's a healthy mix of death and black metal to be found here which leaves the listener thinking of bands such as fellow American stalwarts Skeletonwitch or Goatwhore.

This is obviously good company to be in, and if you couldn't tell from the artwork, there's quite the occult bent to Embrace the Darkness. The abundance of blackened riffs and tremolo picking allows Dismemberment to sit comfortably on a playlist with purer black metal bands such as Absu in addition to bands such as the aforementioned goat-ish whores.

The album keeps to a rather consistent pace, with the exception of the first two tracks. Confess Your Flesh and Eye of the Keeper are two out and out thrashers that keep to a deft two and a half minutes in length. From there however, the songs settle into a more mid-tempo groove and average out at the 4-5 minute mark. This breathing space allows the band to delve further into the guitarwork which is surprisingly varied for music such as this. Along with the usual chugging and trem picking fare, there are some sections of accomplished melodious playing, such as the ending of Labyrinth, in addition to some great guitar solos. Although this extra room for riff based shenanigans obviously felt necessary to the band, I can't help but feel the majority of the songs are a bit on the flabby side and could have benefited from a bit more editing.

Despite one or two minor flaws, Embrace the Darkness  is a fun album. Maybe just not the kind of fun your mother approves of.