November 2009: I was looking up some new bands to play on my radio show, Soma Degenerate, which I host every Saturday at WNYU. As I stumbled across such New Jersey-based metal outfits as such Evoken and Funebrarum, I found myself before the black, abysmal metal backdrop of Disma’s myspace page. Upon picking up on the serious old-school death metal vibes of their tracks, coupled with the band still being active, I was determined to get them on my show.
Based out of Clifton, New Jersey, Disma was formed in 2007 by guitarists Bill Venner and Daryl Kahan. The band released a demo, entitled Vaults of Membros, this past October. While the band remains relatively underground, it boasts of a lineup that features current and former members of Incantation, Evoken, Goreaphobia, among many others.
Fast-forwarding to the recent present: Disma had agreed to play on my radio show, and was setting up in our closet-sized performance studio. As I walked back from the restroom, a smile crossed my face; the floors beneath me were shaking, as the sounds of the band rehearsing reverberated through all corners of the building, through to the bathroom stalls of lower-level Weinstein. As I entered the studio, I observed five guys, interspersed between colossal Marshal cabs, drum kits, and other equipment. Amidst the congestion and heat of the packed room, all members were headbanging in synchronization to their first track: “Lost in the Burial Fog.” The band proceeded to play four songs: three old, one new (“Manifestation”), followed by a short interview.
Each song was deliberately written. The guitar parts were technical and forceful, yet complemented each other well: adding a doubly discordant dimension to each track. This was only perpetuated by the intensity of Shawn’s drum parts, machine-like in delivery, as well as the soul-piercing, low-tuned bass lines. The vocals, quintessentially death metal in nature, were by no means “cookie monster” in sound, but viscerally resonant of early Incantation (I’m talking Mortal Throne of Nazarene). Each member added his own, unique sound to the total package, without sounding out of place or overpowering. Their band chemistry was visibly tight, which only made for an equally solid sound. Standing before the studio in which the legends of Disma were doing a live-set, I found myself in the crowd of the early Morbid Angel shows I’d always wished I’d been old enough to witness beyond the youtube vid on a 2-D computer screen.
For more on Disma, or to get a copy of their demo tape, visit www.myspace.com/dismadeathmetal. The show will be aired this Saturday, December 19th, between 4-6 p.m. (EST), and available thereafter at www.wnyu.org (Soma Degenerate archives).
Photos by: Barbara Ng.