Dismemberment
Denied Salvation EP

With an upcoming full-length in the pipeline, I can only assume the young upstarts that comprise Ohio’s Dismemberment are doing some good old fashioned self-promotion by shooting their tidy sophomore EP, titled Denied Salvation and released last year, back into the promo portal. Whatever their motives, as a reviewer it’s always a nice feeling to plug an unsigned band toiling in the underground when their music warrants such attention. Although Dismemberment cites the likes of Death, Slayer and Carcass as some of their key influences, I mostly hear a raw and aggressive German thrash influence bookended by some blackened melodies. It’s hardly game changing stuff, but the band possesses the songwriting tools and high-octane energy to make the combination work.

The EP format represents are great way for young bands to hone their craft in focusing on a smaller batch of tunes to carve away at and refine, rather than spreading underdeveloped songwriting across a full-length timeframe. Hopefully by the time their upcoming debut full-length is released (probably early next year) Dismemberment can turn the potential of Denied Salvation into a really murderous and substantial package. The 6 songs comprising the EP are tight and thrashy affairs with a very direct delivery. Speedy tempos, dive-bomb solos, and wisps of melody are deftly woven into a fairly stock-standard thrash formula. The riffs are intricate without being overly technical or flashy; the prominent bass of J.D. Henderly adds welcome heft; while Luke Shively’s competent black/thrash rasp gives the music plenty of breathing space. A bit more variety in the tempos and a few more riff changes would give the songs some added spark; otherwise the energy levels and musicianship are up to task and the stout, bass-heavy production compliments their raw, speedy delivery.

‘Last Rites’ has a potent, fiery edge and is the most complete, well-balanced song on offer despite being the lengthiest composition. A sharp and catchy central riff glazes atop tight and aggressive rhythms as the muscular bass adds ample heft to the lively drumming. Well placed time changes and the wild and screeching leads consolidate the indisputable strength of the song. Opening with such a commanding statement grabs the attention immediately but when the other songs don’t quite match up with the same level of quality, the deficiencies stand-out just a little more (most notably some repetitious riffing & a lack of truly memorable moments). That being said the other songs are all solid enough thrash workouts, with the violent blackened death aggression and riffier mid-paced elements of “Gateways to the Past” breaking their mould somewhat, without sounding out of place.

Reinventing the wheel is unlikely to be a key agenda with the style of metal Dismemberment are passionate in pursuing, and while there’s certainly room for improvement, Denied Salvation hints at some serious potential. If they can strengthen the overall quality and catchiness of the riffs and bring a greater dynamic range to the table, their upcoming Embrace the Dark full-length, notably being produced by Joel Grind, could indeed deliver something far more rewarding. As it stands this solid EP is well worth investigating for those who like their thrash raw and aggressive with a blackened sheen (Skeletonwitch fans take note).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
December 20th, 2013

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