Once known as, ahem, Herpes, the buzzsaw devotees in Disfuneral distinguish themselves not in aesthetics, necessarily, but where it counts—quality songwriting. Though the Frenchmen’s debut, Blood Red Tentacle, borrows liberally from the Entombed, Grave, and Dismember playbook, it’s such a considered and aggressive take that I couldn’t help but be charmed. Put simply, I love this album.
Much of Blood Red Tentacle just flat out crushes. And it’s not just the riffs. If it were just the riffs, I’d still be quite satisfied. But the band’s command of atmosphere pushes the aforementioned quality songwriting to new heights. The massive death/doom, Autopsy-like crushing going on about three minutes into album closer “Funeral Maze” exemplifies this. As does the similarly constructed “Devourer of Light,” which entrances with a slow, sinewy opening minute before it kicks into a higher gear.
Thoughtfully executed tributes are one thing but the d-beat of “Dissolved” and the urgency of “Lord of Discord” and “Maim, Kill, Burn” evince an independent merit and relative diversity to Blood Red Tentacle that deserves noting. Certainly, Disfuneral have chosen a (left-hand) path. But it’s not a simple blend of influences so much as an original application of an established approach. The result is something that better represents a unique perspective than an homage.