Review from Metal Storm

Posted by Hypnotic Dirge Records on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 Under: English
From: Metal Storm
Published: July 17, 2023

If death-doom isn't enough to send shivers down one's spine, then how about a bit of jazz for you, then? That should do the trick, right?

The Australian death doom metal band Subterranean Disposition, who formed back in 2011, are now back after a seven-year absence, this time bringing to you their third and latest full-length release to date, Individuation. This release follows their 2012 self-titled debut, as well as their 2016 sophomore release Contagiuum And The Landscapes Of Failure. Now, considering Individuation only features five tracks, it's actually quite a lengthy album, with a total running length of forty-six minutes, so, inevitably, what we have here is five long death doom tracks, each with a heavy, slow-building atmosphere. However, there is much more to this album than just another regular standard death doom record with typically heavy, run-of-the-mill song structures.

The album begins with the epic ten-minuite opener, "Arduous Becoming". This track starts off with an exceedingly heavy, slow-to-mid-tempo build-up, nothing out of the ordinary for a death-doom album you might say, but after several short minutes things start to change, drastically. Suddenly, you're met by a jazzy guitar section, which is then accompanied by a saxophone, of all things, all before the wailing distorted guitar leads come into play. Straight after the midway point, the tempo suddenly comes to a grinding halt, at which point you're then introduced to soft, slow clean vocals, that is until you're once again hit by the jazz-cum-doom style featured earlier on in the track.

"Haunted Optimist" follows a similar pattern to the first track, with heavy death-doom riffs chugging away from the beginning, accompanied by deep menacing growls and occasional blackened shrieks. Now, it's through this track that the album truly begins to reveal its dark, mysterious, and nightmarish nature, doing so through hauntingly soft clean vocals, light creepy synth work, and eerily slow acoustic melodies. The atmosphere of this album is made all the more creepy when you hear what the next track, "Individuation", has to offer. Just like the previous track, this features a soft mid-section, except here you hear strange nocturnal animal sounds in the background behind the soft instrumentation. Along with the creepy mid-section, you have agonizingly hellish blackened shrieks, and an eerily haunting narration towards the end, making the title track the most atmospheric, and certainly the creepiest track on the album.

Individuation, however, isn't without faults. The experimentation is understandable, jazz and blackened elements incorporated into death-doom is a fine formula to go by, and the build-ups and soft eerie passages are certainly atmospheric. However, the overall structure often becomes a mish-mash, leading to a certain lack of flow required to keep the listener engaged. I find the saxophone often comes in unexpectedly, and as good as the musicianship skills are, it doesn't really fit in at times with the rest of the instrumentation. The vocalists themselves do a fine job, between the more commonly used death growls, demonic blackened shrieks, and haunting cleans. For the most part, each of the vocal styles come in at the right moments, but there are occasions where they lose their way in the structure. For the most part the album is relatively easy to follow, but there are strange and complex, and you could even say avantgarde-ish, moments, which are especially noticeable from midway on the closing track "Shadow Work", which I would say is the most experimental track on the album.

Aside from the structural mishaps, Individuation is a fine addition to this year's death-doom category, and Subterranean Disposition prove again they're more than capable of tapping into your darkest inner soul through their eerily dark, crushing soundscapes.

Rating: 7.3/10
Reviewed by: Andy Metal Freak

In : English 

Tags: "subterranean disposition" "sd3" "individuation" "death doom" "avantgarde death doom" "experimental doom metal" "progressive doom metal" 

Released: August 25, 2023
Genre: Progressive Doom Metal

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