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Dismalimerence – Tome: 1

Tome: 1
by Gary G. Hernandez at 06 July 2020, 1:05 PM

DISMALIMERENCE is a foursome based out of Chicago, Illinois, US. They specialize in Atmospheric Melodic Black Metal with a Progressive bent. Although they formed as a band in 2015, it was as far back as 2011 that guitarist/vocalist Elijah Cirricione began writing the songs that appear on the band’s debut album, “Tome: 1,” which was released June 26, 2020 on Transcending Records.

The band’s name is an amalgamation of two words - “dismal” and “limerence” - which pretty much sum up the theme of this first album: unrequited love, intense emotional stress, and resolute solitude. This isn’t to say it’s a depressing album. Quite the contrary, there is an undercurrent of strength and resolve that flows throughout. It recognizes and expresses pain but also speaks to a tenacious, unbending spirit. Even the album cover (by Aghy Purakusuma) illustrates this motif with a bloodied open book in the foreground, a solitary figure tucked in the background, and a cold, storm-laden mountain range as the backdrop.

Musically, the movements in the tracks oscillate from distorted tremolo to resonant acoustics with a few stops in between. The production values are solid, though during heavier passages the distortion overwhelms the more nuanced layering. As previously noted, lyrically there’s a fair amount of introspection going on, but as the vocals are all harsh they effectively mask the authorial intent. If personal reflection isn’t your thing, it wouldn’t be hard to lean back and imagine that instead of sifting through experiential turmoil Cirricione is actually explicating necro-ritualistic abuse or heralding the unholy apocalypse. Pick your poison.

DISMALIMERENCE is at their best when they smooth out the angst and explore the more subtle side of their arrangements. Fortunately, pretty much every track on the album features sections where this happens. What I would have liked to hear is a full track of the band delving into this space. With that said, “Pragma” and “Destined For Solitude” are my favorite tracks. “Crimson Glow,” the first and longest track, is likewise exceptional. I should also note that several of the lead solos are intriguing if not inspiring, for instance “Negligence Of The Forgotten” and the aforementioned “Crimson Glow.”

I’m not sure what’s in the future for the band. I’m hoping they dip into other subject matter and perhaps add some variation to their vocal styling. Currently they feel expansive from a musical perspective and constrained from a lyrical perspective. The result is asymmetrical, which actually might be the point - I mean unrequited love and uninvited solitude is by definition asymmetrical, in which case these guys are geniuses.

Altogether, “Tome: 1” is an introspective album that requires and deserves a serious listen. Fans of Melodic Black Metal and even followers of Prog are likely to enjoy it. As a debut, it’s a good start. Here’s hoping the next album comes a little quicker than the nine years it took to build out this one.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 4
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Crimson Glow
2. Sequestered Hearts
3. My Only Love
4. Orchid's Reverie
5. Pragma
6. Negligence Of The Forgotten
7. Vale Amor
8. Destined For Solitude
Craig Hamburger – Bass
Joey Casillas – Drums
Matt Mifflin – Guitars
Elijah Cirricione – Guitars, vocals
Record Label: Transcending Records


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