Review from Black Belle Webzine

Posted by Nick Skog on Saturday, October 13, 2012 Under: Album Reviews
From: Black Belle Webzine
Published: October 10, 2012
Original Link

 Hypnotic Dirge Records have carved out an impressive niche for themselves and continue to do so, filling up their roster with an eclectic and wildly diverse series of outfits, some of whom many other labels might be reluctant to present the opportunity to.

One of the many intriguing and captivating projects to join the ranks of the Canadian label is the Australian one man creation Subterranean Disposition, helmed by twenty year metal trouper Terry Vainoras.

The extensive musical career of Vainoras has seen him active with a long string of bands in the Australian metal scene including but not limited to the likes of legends Damaged, Hellspawn, The Eternal and Insomnium Dei and now his latest entity sees him adding further strings to an already well adorned bow.

Subterranean Disposition was initially created in 2008, inspired by music written for the last of those aforementioned bands by Terry and collaborator Mark Kelson with the hybrid doom/death/ambient behemoth finally ready to unleash a full length album upon the world.

Despite this self-titled opus only containing five tracks some of them are truly gargantuan in length and together they span the platter out to almost one full hour.

'Between Apes and Angels' starts the show with gentle acoustic mournful notes resonating among a strange collage of animalistic snarls, grunts and so forth before this is briefly joined by rainy ambience and then crushed underneath the inexorable onset of giant doomy chord reverberations.

Drums thud laboriously, cymbals clash and a mesmerising line of calm quiet guitar carefully slinks around the huge chord strikes and it is a whole two and three quarter minutes that pass prior to any vocals even showing themselves.

When these lyrical dispensements eventually do clamber up out of the sluggish doom landscapes they come in a manner thoroughly befitting of the outfits band moniker, cavernous death metal type utterances and dark sludgy roars, also aptly suited to the dragged out slog of the instrumentation.

Curls of melody rake claws against the doom chords as the drums oscillate behind the imposing bellows and growls of Vainoras then around four minutes in unexpected sombre (and slightly portentous) clean vocals make a transitory appearance upon the heels of which comes weird ominous spiralling leads.

Subterranean Disposition then proceeds to deliver one of the fastest passages on the whole album (for generally speaking, with this project predominantly ensconced in the doom genre as any doom aficionado well knows speed is not the key) with a moderate thrash chug that couples its serrated riffery with dark howls and pounding percussions but soon enough this abdicates to the feral vocal drags and slow trudges of sound.

Equally passive in its introductory stanzas is 'Prolong The Agony' with soft enchanting guitars though this too is destined for a temporary stay, brushed aside by hypnotic rhythmic stomps and roaring vocal incantations, billowing over pronounced drum thumps.

Here the vocals sound layered with several different styles seeming to roll in at once, neither and deep and cavernous as they were in 'Of Apes And Angels', rather they are more abrasive and edged with a sandpaper rasp and further vocal surprises are in store as the track progresses.

Sweet ethereal female voices supplant these main vocals around two minutes and bring a sense of radiant beauty to the piece, casting some light over the murky dark of much of the work, though even in terms of the music there are abundant examples of melody as well with morose but beautiful strains of acoustic guitar occasionally stealing pole position away from the heavy doom death slog.

 I mentioned before that the song lengths on the album are gargantuan and that is no exaggeration; the shortest, album closer 'Wailing My Keen' still almost clocks nine minutes and the longest 'The Most Subtle of Storms' reaches a staggering fourteen minutes fifty seconds (though the last five minutes of this massive monolith are essentially a skeletal sprawl of ambient stuff and finally silence).

'Seven Sisters of Sleep' is another gigantic entity that has a running time not so far off the twelve minute mark and of the five songs making up the album is the one that elects to forgo tranquil acoustic melodies as introduction, instead crashing right into a huge blast of dissonant chords.

There are tuneful moments that creep timidly into the frame, overwhelmed by the heavy crush and the cracked vocal depths but they're there nonetheless, wringing melody into the sound.

Also lodged in the giant cumbersome form of the composition are some justly deranged vocal outbursts, notably around four and three quarter minutes where a maddened series of violent expulsions and insistently pounding chords conquer the tranquillity that had previously been in existence.

These shirk the death metal growling method to instead scream in maniacal rasps as the dark unnerving aural horror unravels more and more layers, remaining of course in a unwavering slow-moving tromp.

Mournful leads, percussive rolls and effects bounce remorselessly from ear to ear while the same riff that has been prevalent throughout the protracted course of the number gnaws insistently on the tracks bones until ambience and ultimately nothingness wash away the fading instrumentation as it ends.

The enormous monster that is 'The Most Subtle of Storms' is a similarly slow paced conglomeration of sullen trudging chords, persistent riff patterns, unearthly growls vomited up out of the doomy slog and enchanting intervals ruled by melodies but what really helps this epic stand out is the much unexpected inclusion around seven minutes of a cool despondent saxophone.

This adds yet another dimension to an already compelling body of work though I'm a little less keen on the few full minutes of barren ambience that also reside in 'The Most Subtle of Storms'.

Subterranean Disposition’s self-titled album is one that will require more than just one cursory listen if you are to comprehend and appreciate all that comprises it and each consecutive spin will have more and more being revealed.

Unlike much doom oriented material which can be so uber repetitive or monotonous it makes me want to garrotte myself with a wire coat hanger Terry Vainoros' creation makes for fascinating listening and whilst it may possess a level of repetition to some sections it is constantly full of melodic aspects that never allow monotony to sink in.

As far as debut albums go this one is almost right up there and the experience its protagonist has in the extreme metal scene shines through here.

Reviewed by: Jamie Goforth 

In : Album Reviews 

Tags: subterranean disposition self-titled atmospheric doom metal death-doom terry vainoras the eternal cryptic darkness 


Released: October 27, 2012
500 Copies (400 regular, 100 digipack)
Experimental Doom Metal