Erik Dismembered – Darkness Within EP


artwork by Robert Mallinson,

artwork made by Robert Mallinson,


As much as music should entertain and excite, it should also challenge. Whether it is physically or emotionally, the most thrilling and impacting encounters have been those which leave lingering imprints on thoughts and feelings whilst taking the listener to places they probably do not want to go. One such incitement is the Darkness Within EP from Erik Dismembered, an exploration of inner demons and external provocations breeding the merciless depths of its title. It is also a masterful weave of sound and imagination, a testing some will embrace, others fearfully flee, but all will be left locked in thought and self-awareness.

Erik Dismembered is the solo project of Arizona musician Erik Martin, better known to date as part of death metal duo Critical Dismemberment and the extreme-metal/industrial pairing of Skin Drone. His own project is a unique exploration compared to those bands though there is the same hunger to push and challenge not only the listener but his own creative limits. Erik Dismembered pulls on a vast array of flavours and textures, some familiar as in his other bands, but predominantly they are unexpected essences and styles woven one startling creative experiment.

Lyrically and emotionally each track within Darkness Within plays like stark slithers of insight into a bigger darker picture; themes such as addiction, love, hate, anxiety, and depression combining to create not exactly psychotic but certainly turbulent protagonist(s) explored by the release. How personal to Erik the premise and experiences within tracks are only he can tell but there is an intimacy which is shared by creator and recipient that hits hard, openly, and truthfully.

The EP opens with A Deal with the Devil, a track also featuring Critical Dismemberment band mate Chase Fincher. A guttural roar opens things up, swiftly accompanied by a gentle electro beckoning. The returning raw vocals keeps that initial edge and intimidation blazing as guitars add their sonic tempting to an increasingly tempestuous ambience. Industrial and metal essences entangle within the growing magnetic landscape whilst electronic flirtation bubbles vivaciously across their dark web. There is an agitation to it all also, the lighter and shadowed elements showing an emotional unease which especially coats the lyrical persuasion and erupts forcibly in the outstanding Anxiety.

A melodic electronic shimmer make the initial coaxing, it’s haunted breath the invitation to incessant beats and the whispered anxiousness of Martin to engage the imagination. Scything strokes of guitar aligned to heavier vocal tones erupt soon after, pungent beats adding more sinew to their potency before keys burst into a blaze of harsh electro/industrial tempting with a feel of God Destruction and Bestias De Asalto to it. As Martin shuffles thoughts and options in the lyrical incitement, the earlier dark calm returns before again it all build to an unstoppable emotional crescendo and raw physical expulsion. The feeling of entrapment within feelings and external/internal pressure is superbly exposed by the song, almost leaving the listener also struggling to breathe through solicitude in its wake.

Diamond Eyes floats in next, acoustic guitar accompanying a vocal caress to mesmerise ears before evocative strings and piano seduce with their orchestral elegance. The vocal romance has its own shadows; an undefined dark hue which lies enthrallingly within the poetic charm of the song, keeping thoughts intrigued and busy before the EP’s title track takes over and immediately lays down a colder, starker scenario. Black depths expel their fears in voice and sound, grasping at shards of piano spawned light, clinging to it with hope but swallowed by the festering shadows clawing at psyche and emotions. There is no escaping the power and intensity of words and tone, and again you wonder if only those with intimate experience can achieve this potency in their music.

Most tracks stop with abruptness, their space instantly taken over by its successor and where that feeling of songs being glimpses, parts of a larger almost unstable picture emerges. Darkness Within is an example its sudden end quickly the unrelated start of Desecration of a Corpse, itself a caustic roar of industrial and corrosive magnetism. Melodies float as sonic ferocity sizzles and tempestuous vocals spread raw angst across a discordant electronic shuffle. It is transfixing, a mesmeric and uncomfortable consumption of ears and thoughts in sound and words which only leaves a fierce appetite for more.

The EP closes with the haunting Weary Hearts, a tender emotional kiss on the senses which in some ways is the most disturbing song on the release such its immersive strength and ghostly reflections. It makes for a riveting end to an outstanding encounter, a release which takes on an exploration which is unafraid to bare its darkest corners and soiled emotions, but are you brave enough to join it is the question?

The Darkness Within EP is available now as a free download @

RingMaster 06/05/2015

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Bestias De Asalto: Homenaje A La Violencia

Just when we had decided on our favourite industrial/electro album of the year, along comes Mexican duo Bestias De Asalto with their swarthy devilish melodies and insatiable corrosive intensity to throw every thought in the air and fry them on the way down. Their album Homenaje A La Violencia is immense, a staggering and at times terrifying venture into adrenaline driven confrontation and explosive sonic imagination. It is an album which drives at the psyche from the very start and with unrelenting energetic determination leaves only breathless exaltation remaining after its departure.

From Huajuapan de leon Oaxaca, Bestias De Asalto has created an album of ten high intensity fusions of hungry  industrial metal, electro dazzling, and unbridled venomous aggression, the result a tempest of pleasure from a storm which is as abrasive and disturbing as it is sirenesque and mesmeric. Completed by four remixes from SIN D.N.A., Larva, Angels of Suicide, and X-FUSION, on top of the original tracks, the album leaves one staggering under its presence and enterprise, ears and body resonating in aftershock whilst senses as well as thoughts are left as smouldering fully appeased wreckages.

The album begins with Matalos a Todos, a track which opens with sparkling melodies and spoken samples. It is a gentle entrance which even as the song expands shows restraint. As the serpentine vocals start to permeate the sonic elegance of the track, its intensity slowly rising, a raw and blistered breath lays heavy whispers behind the tight sonic manipulations. Instantly infectious the track sets the stall for what is to come without truly revealing the scorched and titanic magnitude to be unleashed. It is an absorbing romp which teases with its aggression, warming up and hypnotising the defences so the following Secuestro can really do its worst.

The track is staggering, a corrosive fury which saws at the senses and fuses synapses. Venom soaks every corrupted vocal expulsion and sonically rabid intrusive note as the track winds itself vigorously and roughly around its recipient. The track as most on the release, is immense, the devastating and uncompromising soundscape laid out a stunning piece of composing and structuring. The textures which gnaw away as greedily and aggressively as the actually sounds are precisely and inventively spawned, and all combined deliver a toxic experience which is compulsive and irresistible.

The heightened contagion developed over the first pair of songs is now viral and soaking the continuing excellence. The thumping almost punk tones of Mente Enferma stalk and ensnare the passions with its rampant merciless energies and insidious shadows musically and vocally, whilst Violador just sends everything into melt down. The track bitch slaps the senses with snapping snarling energy and sonic violence whilst simultaneously hypnotising them with seductive and sultry melodic wantonness. It is one of the finest examples of blending dark and light, violent hate and tender melodic charm, both though with only the intention of total domination.

Every track on the album is a masterful entrapment for the heart, each burning towers of ingenuity and malevolent imagination which blitz and command until total service is nurtured and firmly in place. Some tracks rise to reach and expand the pinnacles of those already mentioned. There is the torrent of invidious sadistic dark which is Arsenal, its melodic dissidence and primal sonic erosion devastating and addictive, whilst the song Bestias De Asalto, is an incessant and brutal delicious torment which only leads to delirium. Like being rubbed down vigorously by a sonic piece of sandpaper, the track leaves one raw and smarting and as its last note leaves with its intent deeply entrenched in the psyche, the sensation of having been violated and loving every second is the only feeling left in play.

The likes of Que Reine El Terror and the dramatic Hacia La Guerra, a brief and towering instrumental which is the link between the aforementioned track and M-60 are further heightened pleasures whilst the latter of the three is just nasty. Arguably the most violent on the album, it is a ceaseless rampage which stomps over and tears down any remaining barriers within. A sonic jack boot through the ear and a mass rally of malevolence and sonic spite it is a brilliant finale to the album.

As mentioned the release actually finishes with a quartet of remixes. All are strong and satisfying especially the X-FUSION take on M-60 but side by side against the actual sensational versions have no chance of leaving lasting impressions. Released through Engraved Ritual, Homenaje A La Violencia is a titanic release, an album which not only is one of the most impressive and rewarding albums of 2012 but over recent years.

RingMaster 08/11/2012

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