Black Earth Child review by Disfiguring The Goddess

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  • Released: Dec 10, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 5.8 (5 votes)
Disfiguring The Goddess: Black Earth Child

Sound — 7
When Disfiguring The Goddess released "Deprive," it came with an entire bonus album as a surprise gift, called "Black Earth Child," which was probably just as well, since the main album had already been released ahead of time on SoundCloud. Some of this review is going to be more or less the same as the corresponding review for "Deprive," but the two albums are different enough to merit two- actually, this review had to be split into two different ones in order to meet Ultimate Guitar's "no joint reviews" policy. Now that that's out of the way:

Disfiguring The Goddess is the one-man slam death metal side project of electronic dance music producer Cameron Argon, aka Big Chocolate. In slam, there is only one rule: be brutal. And the core of Disfiguring The Goddess' sound is brutal. Guitars are downtuned as much as an entire octave, and the riffs blend into a thick, murky sludge with no hooks or memorable parts. The production shows tight editing and gating, with a clear, sterile digital tone. Some impurity in the sound would have done it some good, especially since the drums are programmed, but from the polyrhythms and guitar tunings, it's just part of a bigger move towards a djent-influenced sound. 

That's most of the sound of "Black Earth Child." There's not much else to it, and there doesn't need to be, as long as it gives you an excuse to Slam Dat Sickness, and changes often enough to keep you listening. It all goes by in a blur, other than a few bits of black metal, an occasional ambient sound effect, or a couple Morbid Angel-type riffs that are less exactly the same than usual, all of which you can find in the title track. The riffs aren't Origin-level skronky, but they're more than technical enough to bring the mosh.

Lyrics — 7
Cam Argon isn't a very dynamic vocalist, but he does what he does, which is basically a monotone death growl all the way through the album. There are some higher screams here and there, but they're brief (like towards the beginning of "Lead To The Desert"). He has really good technique, but never switches it up at all. The vocals in DtG are just another instrument, and like the guitars, bass and drums, they only have two modes: "slam" and "AAARRGGGHHHHHH."

Disfiguring The Goddess does, in fact, have lyrics, something I seriously didn't know until the fact-checking part of this review. I thought Cam just growled gibberish in a way that loosely resembled human speech, and gave the songs vague, abstract titles just to tell them apart, which would still be awesome. What the hell is a "suffer square"? No idea, but it sounds brutal.

While some death metal bands have turned to stories of summoning abstract, cosmic horrors (or just plagiarizing HP Lovecraft) to stay fresh while everyone else talks about sticking their junk in rotten corpses, the lyrics of "Deprive" sound like one of those cosmic horrors wrote them. Who knows if they actually mean anything, but stream-of-consciousness death metal isn't something many bands do, probably because it's hard to do without just looking stupid. Take a look at this passage from "The Mother's Hand, Sixteen": "Before the light heads down the last fire submersed into the ground. Sentinels are sleeping. We escape into lands below, where all is blind and the old man never grows." Or "All That Is Flesh": "Laughter heard from the sky. Tomb of our queen, broken. Our jackal in sight. The deep ones from the corners of the room expand their arms, dangled and frail. The voice cryptic with three times the tone of a human." The lyrics set a tone, sculpting a backdrop in a way that conventional lyrics can't, and somehow, they still manage to tell a story. Sort of.

Overall Impression — 8
"Black Earth Child" is classic slam, done right, with just enough standout moments to be worth listening to over similar albums. It's like having a guitar built for you by a local luthier over ordering it from a major brand; one is made by someone who knows what they're doing and does it because they like it, and the other just wants your money, but either way, you're in the wrong place if you're a cellist. If you bought/streamed this album/these albums expecting a Wagner-esque opera of death metal, full of clever arrangements, tuneful melodies, and intricate dynamics, then you deserved every ounce of disappointment you felt when it turned out to be the exact opposite of that. And no, you're not listening to death metal for "tuneful melodies".

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