Dysthymia, in case you’re wondering, means a persistent mild depression. And it’s about as fitting a title as any for the dark, sweepingly melodic, and often lumbering death metal sound of Brazil’s Escarnium.
Escarnium’s particular brand of hypnotism, though not wholly original, so successfully pulls from so many interesting and varying corners of death metal that it feels significantly less Frankenstein-y than it otherwise ought to. There’s some definite Swedish influence, which is why the “Into the Grave” cover should surprise no one, but the lumbering feels less buzzsaw, more NYDM and the drums quite a bit more playful.
Opener “Inglorious Demise” wastes little time introducing the band’s alluringly odd and frenetic heavy-footedness. No doubt about it, Dysthymia will induce many a slow but purposeful headbanging. Though seemingly simple relative to the others, it may be the most memorable song on the album. It gets particularly fun just before the three-minute mark when the pace slows and the aforementioned slow but purposeful headbanging steals the show.
The most Immolation-like of the album’s five original tracks, “Far Beyond Primitive” is also its most crushing. The oppressive wrecking ball heft of the drums is impressive on its own, but it’s pure heaven when combined with the Vigna-type riffing. And at four and a half minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Short, sweet, and punchy in all the right places, Dysthymia packs quite a wallop given the twenty-five minute run time. Quality over quantity, as they say. And, truth be told, any longer and Carrera’s arms might suddenly pop off. Guy is an absolute beast behind the kit. Though the atmosphere is gloomy, no doubt, Dysthymia proved to be an undoubtedly fun and surprising listen.