Disincarnate‘s only album, “Dreams of the Carrion Kind” is a small jewel of 90’s Death Metal, which can stand easily in the same shelf with the more famous Obituary, Deicide, Pestilence, Morbid Angel or whatever. Strongly centered around the person of James Murphy, Disincarnate formed in San Francisco around 1992 and released a three track demo with the “octopus” Alex Marquez on drums (if you want to hear some real shit Alex did check out his amazing “Embalmed Existance” from the band Resurrection). However Alex was dropped in favour of a good, solid drummer Tommy Viator (also in the sludge/drone/doom band Acid Bath) to record this minor artifact.
“Dreams” is an old-school album in many aspects. It has the length of a normal Cd (finally over 45 minutes, amirage today), and is chock full of complex songs with a lot of elaboration. The album itself is probably a quasi-concept based on Murphy’s readings, much influenced by Neil Gaiman’s wonderful comic Sandman… He cites this serie as inspiration in the booklet, and he even uses the artist that painted all Sandman covers for the album as well (hell, even the band name recalls the dreamscape!). The lyrics of “Monarch of the Sleeping Marches” recalls a lot the story of Dream, aka the Sandman, even if it talks more precisely of Hypnos, the God of sleep, which had a court of Oneiroi, demons that incarnate the various aspects of sleep. One of this is the Oneiros Morpheus, which is mistakenly identified with sleep in the Sandman comics. The rest of the lyrics talk about eternal suffering, heavens in flames, departure from the body… classical Death Metal themes yet approached with a stylish touch. All of them are entertaining to read, you should definitely read the songs along with the singer, which has a very clear tone despite the growling.
People have told me this album is a technical monstrosity, I have even read a review in an old Sounds of Death mag where they thrashed this disc becouse it sounded like a didactic guitar Cd. Well, I am no musician so I cannot tell, but really I do not hear all this unnerving guitar hero wanking I heard in the latest (horribly shitty) Death albums. On the contrary this Death Metal sounds perfectly solid to me. I used to be bothered a bit by the melodic solos (which have always been Murphy’s trademark), especiallyu the one in “Entranced” but after all these years, I am not bothered much anymore, maybe I hear so few today that they have become nice listen sometimes. I personally find this Cd flawless, the drum sound absoluetly full and real neat, not too prominent, and this guy does all there is to do, not a single second of showing off. It has the only small flaw of being totally standard, classic Death Metal. So classic, one can wrongly dare to say “standard”. To me it’s just “paragon”. In a time when you got a perfectly identifiable characteristic in every album released (from the trippy Disharmonic Orchestra to the acrid Pungent Stench etc), an album like this sounded absolutely ordinary, if well played and everything. That’s probably the reason it was overlooked. Being one that never cared for originality much, this album has always been a great choice to hear for me when I didn’t know what to bring in the car or spin on the turntable (hell yes, I have both versions, how could I not?). There is not really much to add about this album, it is classic Death Metal from a to z, with a strong early Florida Death Metal accent (even if we’re in California), solid drummings, lots of power chords, classic powerful deathvomit vocals a bit in the vein of the first Immolation (very malignant), some solos and guitar riffs arranged with great skill and taste, all crowned by a perfect production (for my tastes, that means not too artificial). If you want a paragon for a lot of Death Metal releases, this might be a good choice. And yes, I prefer this 10 to 1 compared to any Obituary. A minor Cult item to own!
I have read that Roadrunner released a collector edition of this Cd recently with Murphy’s liner notes (also explaining his treatment and recovering from brain tumour) and the 3 tracks demo as bonus. If Murphy regains all his abilities soon, he will also be recordinga follow up to this real excellent album. Also Displeased is going to re-print this, even though I wonder why since this special editions has been just pressed. Bah…