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Dismalimerence – Tome: 1

Tome: 1
by Ian Yeara at 08 August 2020, 11:32 AM

Despite the name that I'm still not sure how to say, DISMALIMERENCE is yet another American Black Metal band that has stolen my heart. To be more specific this is most definitely Atmospheric Black Metal. Amazingly, they don't even use much in the way of keyboards and synthesizers, which is something atmospheric Black Metal bands will do to differentiate themselves from regular Black Metal. Now this album does have some piano, but it's very subdued and most of the melodic work goes to the guitar tremolo picking.

There are so many types of Black Metal it's often rather daunting. I think I generally tend to prefer the more folk influenced atmospheric Black Metal like GALLOWBRAID, SUMMONING and EMYN MUIL. However there's a style that's somewhere in between, where you get a combination of old school Black Metal with modern nuances of synthesizer and Doom Metal. Within this rather vague subgenre I hear low effort bands all the time, they want to sound like KARLAHAN, or The Great Old Ones and they just don't get it. This is a band that knows what it takes and truly understands what the genre is trying to accomplish. Now these guys surprise me because they don't actually use the synth that much, they pull all of their atmosphere from the acoustic guitar and layering the shit out of the electric guitar. Personally, I could always use a little more keyboard, but DISMALIMERENCE doesn't need it.

Let's get into the music, DISMALIMERENCE have managed a very nuanced and emotive slab of Black Metal with this album. "Crimson Glow" takes you through the gamut, but the real gems of the album come from the last three tracks of the album. Did I mention there's a ballad on this? I don't usually like ballads all that much, but when Black Metal bands and Doom Metal bands write them I have to check it out because it's something of a phenomenon. "My Only Love" does a lot with the acoustic guitar, layers of reverb give it a haunted feel, and it manages to keep interesting throughout. Of course then the last 40 seconds sheds the ballad moniker and goes full tilt blast beats to the end. It's a very interesting choice, but anyone getting bored with the song should just wait till the end, it's worth it.

As with most Black Metal it can be difficult to talk about the songs individually, which some people like to disparage it for. However, I think albums like this are meant to be listened to as a whole artifact. The songs flow easily into one another and they rely on riffs instead of hooks, which works very well here.

Getting back to the songs, "Sequestered Hearts" has a cool rhythmic gimmick that stays consistently interesting. My Only Love" is a slab of Black Metal that all EMPEROR fans should appreciate. In fact now that I think of it, a lot of this album could be compared to old school Immortal, with that occasional odd twist that might sound out of place in other Black Metal. "Orchid's Reverie" goes in a few different directions and includes some beautiful piano lines which I'm always on the lookout for. "Orchid's Reverie" also includes some of the doomiest riffs on the whole album. "Negligence of the Forgotten" has some of the most emotive riffs in the album and I love the transitions from punishing Black Metal to acoustic doom.

If I had to pick a favorite song from this album it would either be "Sequestered Hearts" or "Vale Amor." "Vale Amor" is an excellent half ballad that spends the first 4 minutes of the song in a dirge played by piano and acoustic guitar. All of this serves as tension building for the release, almost the moment the song hits four minutes all hell breaks loose and the song goes on a Black Metal rampage. For those of you who like the "epic Black Metal" label, this song is the sort of thing that you will appreciate. Although I think most Doom Metal fans will also love this. This album more than most atmospheric Black Metal albums I review is truly a marriage of Doom Metal and Black Metal and I absolutely love it.

I am quite fond of the phrase "variety is the spice of life", it's something that comes into play every review I write, and often times bands stick to one style or one tempo, or a small set of either. DISMALIMERENCE manages to draw from a significant pool of tempos, time signatures and rhythms. These are the kind of little details that elevate an album to the next level and this album is very quickly growing on me.  This band has an excellent grasp of tension and release, their songwriting chops are solid and I really appreciate the level of attention that clearly went into crafting each moment of this album.

Black Metal is often criticized for being repetitive and pretentious, DISMALIMERENCE might be a little pretentious for some tastes, but for me they strike the perfect balance of Progressive Black Metal and the classics. Atmospheric Black Metal is my favorite style of Black Metal and it's because of bands like this. The combination of Prog, Doom and Black Metal just does so many things right. Straightforward Black Metal is fun, but as bands like ENSLAVED have proven, there's just so much more you can do with the genre and I'm always so very happy to hear bands pushing boundaries and making their mark on the modern Black Metal scene. Go forth and keep making your mark on the world DISMALIMERENCE, this album surprised me as I haven't been surprised in a while.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 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
Elijah Cirricione – Guitars & Vocals
Craig Hamburger – Bass
Joey Casillas – Drums
Record Label: Transcending Records


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