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Disgrace comes to the table with teeth bared, its members all bringing courses that include Nails’ pummelling grindcore, Forced Order’s earth-punching fervor, Creatures’ thrashy delights and the gothic coarseness of Twitching Tongues, creating a banquet worth celebrating across the metallic hardcore spectrum. Disgrace is a melting pot of all that and more, with slivers of '80s era Sepultura-influenced death metal and the nastier bits of All Out War churned into the mix. The same deft hand that steered their debut EP, Songs of Suffering, also guides their debut full-length, True Enemy, into more hellish territories.

At 12 tracks, True Enemy is a breathless ride that, while not breathtaking, is punishing from start to finish, their sound having evolved further down the death metal path, not unlike contemporaries Xibalba, whose recent Tierra Y Libertad saw them channeling Sepultura as well. Furthering Disgrace’s death metal adoration, True Enemy once again features art by Dan Seagrave who is famous for album covers for legends like Entombed, Suffocation and Morbid, and who also did the art for Disgrace’s own Songs of Suffering and split with Harness. Seagrave’s art has become synonymous with the genre, and is emblazoned on releases that have come to be considered classics. His style is familiar and denotes a specific quality to the release itself. Xibalba’s last two albums also received his treatment, furthering the marriage of hardcore and death metal that Disgrace have added to.

Building on the misanthropic foundations placed by Songs of Suffering, True Enemy is rife with wrathful intent, from its chest-bursting riffs and berserker vocals to its landslide bass lines and bone-crunching percussion. The vocals tinge the Suffocation-on-crack guitars with a Neanderthal quality, evoking such a primal savagery that tracks like “Slave to the Lead God” and “1000 Voices” play like ancient war songs. That knuckle-dragging appetite for precise devastation is transplanted into “The Well” and “Bootlicker,” which are the album’s most qualifying hardcore tracks. “Segue” is jarring in its softness, a sparse acoustic intermission clocking in just under a minute, doing little to ease or slow the collection’s rampant momentum. True Enemy demonstrates the most growth on its penultimate and ending tracks, “The Dawn” and “Conclusion,” the former ending with a dizzying, neck-breaking solo. “Conclusion” allows itself to bask in contemplative drone, reaching near elegance with its sparse strumming and intricate bass before quickening its pace. The ending half is towering in its melodicism and sorrow, playing like a B-side to Crowbar’s Odd Fellow’s Rest. These last 90 seconds is Disgrace’s punctuating moment, with all of True Enemy’s hammered misanthropy coalescing into a catchy, brooding final gasp.

True Enemy does not push any genre boundaries, its tried and true metallic hardcore conjuring just the right amount of animalistic fervor. What True Enemy does accomplish is how that fervor impassions Disgrace’s sound, laying bare all their tangible world weariness, with the emotional and physical stakes played out over this half-hour minigun fight.

—Bruce Hardt

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True Enemy is out today via Closed Casket. Follow Disgrace on Facebook.

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