Disembody – Reigniting Hellfire Review

Ah, who doesn’t like a hellish blast of blackened thrash mayhem? While it may not top my list of metal drugs of choice, nor do I claim the expertise or passionate dedication to the style as our resident Z-man, it regularly delivers a refreshingly crude, ragged, riff-ready charm that goes down easily. Best served raw and unpolished, Finland’s Disembody, um…. embodies, the retro characteristics often found in the subgenre, pulling influences from the darker corners of ’80s thrash and imbuing these fast, fiery traits with ample doses of vitriolic blackened mayhem and grim first wave crudeness. It’s a basic, tried and true recipe, executed with boundless enthusiasm and horns-up attitude by the initialed duo of J.J. (bass, vocals, guitars) and A.H. (drums) on their full-length debut, aptly titled, Reigniting Hellfire.

Playing a style of metal not widely known for cutting edge innovation, Disembody stay true to form, preferring to perfect their two-man formula of destruction, rather than attempt to reinvent the wheel or throw experimental ideas at a wall hoping for them to stick. Disembody tip their gauntlets to early Slayer and Sodom, dipped in embryonic black metal, speed metal and crude Venom attitude. Following yet another skippable intro track, Disembody initially lay off the speed that dominates Reigniting Hellfire, utilizing some effective South of Heaven-esque atmosphere and doomy presence on “Out for Blood.” Despite the bare-bones production, the duo creates quite a full sound, including some prominent bass lines. As the gears shift upwards, intensity rises through blastbeaten hammer blows of cacophonous violence and frantic thrashy bursts. It’s a killer tune to kick off the album proper. Vocally, a sturdy if not exactly dynamic blackened snarl serves as a steady mouthpiece to reinforce Disembody’s ugly, aggressive attack.

Onwards Disembody not so much as march, but hurtle their way with reckless abandon, through a hefty load of material. Speed dominates proceedings on numerous violent, skin flaying cuts such as, “Black Magick Doom,” pummeling riff-fest “Legions of Blackfire,” the scorching “Abysmal Hellstorm,” replete with tasty lead work, and the awesomely titled and more ambitiously structured “Blackthrashing Fist,” a lengthy tune that mostly comes together well. The concise, moody instrumental “Descending into Infernal Realms,” features a killer militaristic closing groove and demonstrates Disembody’s effectiveness when they mix up tempos and explore, moodier terrain. More of these deviations and dynamic shifts would have been welcome additions to Disembody’s otherwise relentless assault. Unfortunately, there are other songs that while never dull, tend to zoom by leaving little impression or any notable hook or riff to latch onto.

While the general consensus here at Angry Metal Guy HQ is on the value of concise album lengths and brevity over unnecessary bloat, Disembody let it all hang out on their debut. This can certainly work for certain bands playing particular styles and genres of metal. However, Disembody’s blunt-force attack of fairly formulaic blackened thrash never lacks energy or unbridled aggression, but struggles to maintain the rage and songwriting skills or dynamics to justify its nearly hour-long duration. Unfortunately, the imbalance of quality-quantity hurts the album’s final impact. Tightening up during the editing process and shedding unnecessary fatty bits and shaving this puppy down to a lean 40 minutes or so would have made for a more palatable and potent listening experience, as there are some cool moments and solid material on offer.

Criticisms aside, it’s difficult to completely disregard or dislike what Disembody concoct here. Props to the duo for keeping it real and showing skill and appreciation in executing their frenetic blackened thrash attack with no-holds-barred aggression, riffs aplenty, and an endearing homage to the dark arts and old school metal. There are certainly noteworthy moments and solid songs to thrash out to, and at the very least a handful of songs worthy of whacking onto a playlist. Otherwise, Reigniting Hellfire suffers from bloat and loses too much steam to warrant a more heartfelt recommendation. However, mileage may vary for blackened thrash fiends and I look forward to what the duo unleash next time around.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8  | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Helldprod Records
Websites: disembodyband.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Disembodymetal 
Releases Worldwide: April 18th, 2022

« »