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The last album of Disgorge’s original run “Parallels Of Infinite Torture” heralded the end of an era. By the it saw release in 2005 the style of death metal that Disgorge specialized in had ran it natural course. Once again fronted by a different vocalist it is the last of four records that the band released from 1992 to 2006. “Crown Of Souls”, the last release of the Jacoby Kingston era from fellow California act Deeds Of Flesh, was released the same year, and further evidenced this. In truth, the earliest sign of stagnation for the style was released a year prior with “Methods Of Execution”, the third and final record from the original run of Knoxville, Tennessee power trio Brodequin, who played a similar concussive style as Disgorge.

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As was the case with the previous effort Disgorge wasn’t able to retain the services of its frontman. “Parallells Of Infinite Torture” positions Levi Fuselier in the vocal slot but he wasn’t able to hold on to the frontman position beyond this album and its touring cycle. It’s not noticeable that Disgorge changed frontmen on this album as Levi Fuselier sounds virtually identical to his predecessor AJ Magana. Fuselier goes more for a Frank Mullen (circa “Effigy Of the Forgotten) type direction, and his enunciation is leagues better than that of his unremarkable predecessor. As these things tend to go Disgorge never had any luck with their frontmen, and Fuselier – while functional and percussive – also overcompensates in visceral depth what he lacks in color and character.

The anti-religious lyrical concept of “Consume the Forsaken” is continued. Many of the lyrics are similar in format and delivery to those of “Effigy Of the Forgotten” by NY death metal stalwarts Suffocation. If anything one of Disgorge’s most notable improvements post-Matti Way is that the lyrics only got better with each subsequent release. Even though “Parallells Of Infinite Torture” puts more of an emphasis on the gore/horror aspect the vivid religious imagery used in the lyrics are far better than what Deicide or Vital Remains were peddling at the time. Of all the Disgorge albums “Parallels Of Infinite Torture” has the best written and most intelligent lyrics. Considering that this is the same band that penned the lyrically abysmal “She Lay Gutted” earlier – it is heartening to see the band outgrow its tired gore roots for something altogether more interesting.

The album is the recording debut for second guitarist Ed Talorda, and his presence allows for slightly more diverse guitar work. The lively interaction between Sanchez and Talorda is what makes these tracks work so well as they do. ‘Descending Upon Convulsive Devourment’, ‘Condemned to Sufferance’ and album opener ‘Revealed In Obscurity’ are probably the most diverse tracks Disgorge had ever penned at that point. That ‘Atonement’, a refurbished cut from the band’s 1996 “Cranial Impalement” demo tape, was included here should come as no surprise since the album by and large aims to reinstate the demo direction within a modern context. ‘Forgotten Scriptures’ is an atmospheric interlude. The title track is custodian to several bass guitar breaks. 'Descending Upon Convulsive Devourment’ has some quirky drum sounds in certain sections, but otherwise it is one of the better tracks on the record, especially when Disgorge tries to channel the churning darkness of Morbid Angel during the beginning of the track. It’s great to finally hear Marlin’s bass playing in the title track, even though it is ever so briefly. For the first time since its demo era the band is raising an effort to diversify its songwriting, and as such “Parallells Of Infinite Torture” is the most interesting of their efforts.

Instead of maintaining sonoric stability between albums and returning to Studio One in Racine, Wisconsin the band opted to record locally. For this session the lesser known Blackbeard Studio in San Diego, California was chosen with Michael Kiner and John Beard in the production seat. For the first time Ricky Myers had a world class drum sound and Benjamin Marlin’s bass guitar could finally be heard properly. In keeping with the tradition of the preceding record the album was mastered at Imperial Mastering by Colin Davis of fellow California band Vile. Once again artwork by Texan tattoo artist Jon Zig was commissioned for the release. The album was released on controversial label imprint Crash Music, and subsequently spent some time in legal limbo when the label capsized (and later resurfaced).

For all intents and purposes “Parallels Of Infinite Torture” is the most ambitious Disgorge effort. Not only because it breaks away ever so slightly from the very narrow direction of its two predecessors, but more importantly, because it actually genuinely tries to create an atmosphere. In ever such a small way Disgorge attempts to break away from its constant battering style of old, and although there’s still nary a riff that is repeated twice, here the Myers-Sanchez-Marlin axis at least tries to bring some flow and coherence into its rather bland and very regressive assault. For that reason alone “Parallels Of Infinite Torture” is more interesting than any of its two predecessors. It’s not exactly the second coming of its demo sound, but it at least hints at such miniscule progression. For the creatively stunted Disgorge that is a considerable step forward.

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“Consuming the Forsaken” is the first Disgorge album to not feature long-serving vocalist Matti Way. In its classic constellation, which lasted from 1992 to 2006, Disgorge released four albums on a variety of labels, of which this is the second. The working title for the album was “Dissecting Thee Apostles”. The album is a loosely narrative and semi-conceptual effort about unspecified forces of evil conspiring to kill Christ and his congregation of apostles, thus effectively cessating the birth of Catholicism. Musically consistent with its semi-legendary predecessor it paved the way for the band’s last album “Parallells Of Infinite Torture”, which would push the adopted direction towards its logical conclusion.

After the incoherent, and supposedly shocking gore of “She Lay Gutted” for this record Disgorge opted for an anti-religious concept. The change in subject matter isn’t entirely unexpected as ‘Revelations XVIII’ already hinted at such direction earlier. The lyrics are surprisingly well written for the style, recalling the early works of New York veteran genre act Immolation, and to a lesser degree Doug Cerrito-era Suffocation. Like his predecessors A.J. Magana (vocals) is loud and viscerally intense, but not very remarkable otherwise. What his grunt overcompensates in sheer guttural depth and range it lacks in expressiveness, enunciation and emotion. The admittedly strong lyrical concept, which uses established events from scripture, loses much of its power due to the sheer banality of Magana’s forceful delivery.

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‘Manipulation Of Faith’ and ‘Consecrating the Reviled’ offer up more engaging guitar work and more varied drumming after two completely interchangeable tracks opened the album. A music video shot was for ‘Consume the Forsaken’, although ‘Dissecting Thee Apostles’ was clearly the stronger track, and more deserving of the treatment. The grinding slow part towards the track’s conclusion harnesses more feeling and atmosphere than the rest of the album is ever able to conjure. ‘Denied Existence’ proves that Myers can measure himself with the classic death metal skinsmen if he ever stopped blasting constantly. His constant usage of either single or double kickdrums invalidates their function as they have little effect within such context. ‘Divine Suffering’ ends with a similar slow grinding part that is high on tension and atmosphere, adding to the macabre effect when Magana’s monstrous vocals that are finally put to good use.

A critical fault carried over from the uneventful “She Lay Gutted” is the focus on brutality and percussive density over memorable, involving songwriting and recognizable hooks. The change in lyrical direction, not entirely unexpected in itself, is a step in the right direction - but on the musical side nothing critical has changed. As a result far too few tracks stand out, even though the band had become better musicians its songwriting approach didn’t grow along making the change in lyrical direction only partly succesful. Both the guitar work and the drumming are of an exceptional level, but both spent inordinate amount of time pulling into opposite directions of each other. Sanchez and Marlin would feel right at home in a band that played dissonant, unholy sounding death metal (pre-“Unholy Cult” Immolation, Sylvain Houde era Kataklysm, or the early works of NY scene institution Incantation) whereas Myers and Magana lean more towards the traditional California death metal sound that stylistically similar to Jacoby Kingston-era Deeds Of Flesh.

Like the album before it “Consume the Forsaken” is almost completely bereft of any atmosphere, hateful or otherwise. None of the chord progressions are particularly evil sounding, and the band is more concerned with battering the listener into submission with nearly constant percussive chaos than with writing memorable songs. The album is successful insofar that it delivers a full-on assault on the listener’s senses. That only a few tracks stick with the listener after is to the album’s everlasting detriment. As one of the main propagators of the brutal subset Disgorge moreso than its peer Deeds Of Flesh relies on listener disorientation to craft some kind of experience out of its album. Linear as though they might be at least the Deeds Of Flesh trio still wrote actual songs with recognizable beginnings, middles and ends. It wouldn’t be until the next album that Disgorge reinstated its demo sound/direction and focused on writing songs again.

In terms of production “Consume the Forsaken” is a step up from its predecessor on all fronts. For the first (and, so far, only) time Disgorge recorded at Studio One in Racine, Wisconsin with Chris Djuricic handling the production. The guitar tone has gained a lot of clarity, texture and definition. The drums sound powerful and commanding but never overly processed. The mastering was done at Imperial Mastering by California scene veteran Colin Davis. Texan tattoo artist Jon Zig was once again tasked with creating the artwork. The abstract artwork isn’t quite as horrifying as the canvas he created for the previous album. Ultimately this artwork is far more interesting because it sidesteps the triviality and mundanity of the band’s other gore-inspired artworks. The layout this time around was handled by Derek Boyer, and it is an improvement on all fronts.

As far as presentation goes “Consume the Forsaken” outclasses “She Lay Gutted”.

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The complete lack of motifs in the music make it hard to guess what exactly Disgorge intended to convey with the record as each track is virtually interchangeable with the next. There’s no journey to be had, and the album doesn’t build towards a crescendo with a signature song. Impressive from a mere technical standpoint (considering the amount of skill it requires to memorize and play these songs) “Consume the Forsaken” lacks both in memorable songwriting and in creating an atmosphere for the listener to submerge in. It was something fellow Californians Deeds Of Flesh was able to succeed in while operating within a very specific and narrow genre perimeter. Although both bands started around the same time both took different approaches to the death metal genre. To its detriment Disgorge focused on other things besides writing recognizable songs, an ailment that would continue to plague them through out their career. Thankfully this album’s successor would at least attempt to shake things up creatively a tiny bit…