I’ve been playing ridiculous amounts of Destiny 2 lately. Whenever someone leaves the key to my cell within reach, I’ll sneak out and spend a couple hours blasting aliens with my buddies [ed. note: why would you admit this where you know we’ll read it?] . One of the main antagonist races in Destiny 2 are the Cabal. Big, rhinoceros-looking bastards with even bigger shields. They’re tough, and real angry too. I only mention this, because upon pressing play on Dyscarnate’s newest album, With All Their Might, I thought to myself “this is the sort of music the Cabal would listen to.”
It’s very rare that I’ll listen to an album and know within the first 30 seconds that I’m gonna be into it, but I’ve learned to trust that gut feeling when I do get it, and it’s not let me down yet. “Of Mice and Mountains” opens the album in monolithic fashion. Its massive, towering riffs barrel down at the listener, pummeling them into submission before the gruffer-than-gruff vocals pick you up by the bootstraps just so they can get a few hits in before they let you sink back into the dirt. Oh yeah, I’m liking this.
This particular brand of tough-guy death metal is extremely hit-or-miss. It’s one thing to posture yourself as a big man, but without any substance to back that up, your music is gonna fall flat on its face. Fortunately, Dyscarnate have musical balls big enough to have their own gravitational pull, and their music benefits from it. They’ve mastered the art of the chunky riff, every single lick and riff is teeming with mindless aggression, and the tones they chose for this album suit the music perfectly: big, muscular and heavy. It’s clear that Tom Whitty is a seasoned pro who’s just having a blast, cranking out riff after riff of punishment for our masochistic pleasure.
But for all the great riffs that populate this album (the opening to “Iron Strengthens Iron” being a particular shit-stomper,) it’s the rhythm section that commands this beast. The tribal war-march of the drums, coupled with the industrial-sounding bass is truly a force to be reckoned with. “Beefy” doesn’t even begin to describe the drum sound Dyscarnate have achieved on With All Their Might. The sheer brutal tour-de-force that makes up the backbone of this album is truly something to behold.
Such a relentless audio beatdown could cause some serious ear-fatigue if handled by a lesser band, but Dyscarnate know how to keep things tight and to the point. Clocking in at a refreshing 38 minutes, there’s not enough time for things to get repetitive, though it’s still not quite enough to keep me from wishing for a splash more diversity. The closing track, “Nothing Seems Right,” helps to scratch that itch, but it’s not quite enough, despite its deliciously dark atmosphere. Dyscarnate have shown that they’re more than capable of switching gears while still writing great music, so that just makes me want to hear them do it more.
I really enjoyed my time with With All Their Might. Is it a modern classic? No. But it’s a fun, concise platter of headbangable death metal tunes that do exactly what they set out to do, and they do it with a wink and a smile. It’s been a great companion to my last Destiny 2 marathon, and I foresee myself coming back to it many more times in the future. It won’t top Immolation or Dying Fetus, but hey, it never had to. If you’re looking for something fun and heavy, you can’t go wrong here.