It’s no secret that I’m a fan of over-the-top production, technicality, and, especially, symphonic elements in heavy music. The way deathcore is evolving in recent years, with bands like Shadow of Intent, Ov Sulfur, and, especially, Lorna Shore, reaching massive audiences with their brand of symphonic deathcore, suggests that many others also share this affinity. As a result, many new acts are trying their hand at this particular brand of extreme metal. Our current Weekly Featured Artist, Disembodied Tyrant, is no exception. However, the two-person act has some elements that set them apart from their peers.

Disembodied Tyrant first caught my attention with the release of their split single “I, The Devourer”, with Synestia. However, the group’s history goes back a few years, as Blake Mullens (vocalist/songwriter/guitarist) explains:

‘The band formed initially in 2020, with Donovan Parchment as vocalist and a producer called Hvlfern who did everything else. I (Blake) joined on Thanksgiving Day 2021 as a guitarist/new songwriter, and Rene joined June 2022. Donovan and Hvlfern both left the band in August 2022. I took up the vocal duties after that! I produce, mix, and master our songs as well.’

Considering the group’s substantial restructuring in August 2022, the band’s debut EP, Eclipse, Pt. 1, has a substantially different feel than 2022’s The Divine Stigmata, where Mullens was at the helm. Eclipse, Pt. 1 is considerably slower and less orchestral, drawing comparisons to Black Tongue or Humanity’s Last Breath as opposed to the darting riffs and string stabs of Lorna Shore. While much changed for the group from their first release to The Divine Stigmata, they kept the name, inspired by a monster of Filipino legend, the Manananggal.

The Divine Stigmata took Eclipse, Pt. 1‘s penchant for deathcore heaviness, and incorporated dynamics like spoken word sections and clean guitars while ramping up the speed and technicality. The title track opens with haunting keys before choirs complement devastating breakdowns and explosive chugs. We then hear some impressive and melodic lead work to move the track in a more complex, emotive direction. A song like “Reincarnate” opens with clean guitars before controlled percussive strikes take over alongside staccato strings and keys. Rene Gerbrandij’s technical yet controlled drumming furthers the dynamism of these tracks, leading to a pretty revolting breakdown at the end of the song alongside some spirited retches from Mullens. Elsewhere, a piece like “Omenkiller” draws inspiration from films and videogames: ‘Movies are a huge external influence… a lot of my songs are born immediately after watching a movie. I wrote half of our song “Omenkiller” right after watching the dogfight scene in Dunkirk. I was also playing Elden Ring at the time, if it wasn’t obvious enough.’

Shortly after the impressive The Divine Stigmata came out, Mullens was contacted by Sam of Synestia, suggesting a collaboration of some kind. After an initial call, the two acts decided to work on a split EP. However, instead of each contributing two songs to the release, the bands wrote all four songs together. The result is The Poetic Edda EP, of which “I, The Devourer” is the first single. To my ears, its level of technicality, orchestration, and variety makes for my favourite material from either act so far. It opens with rapid riffs and baroque-inspired hooks, but it also has a fully orchestral interlude in the middle. Such an interlude demonstrates these acts’ abilities to write lush, dynamic material where orchestral elements are not just an afterthought or an attempt to jump on the bandwagon.

The Poetic Edda feels quite a bit more refined than Stigmata, partially due to me maturing as a producer/songwriter, as well as Sam’s own songwriting journey. We both learned quite a bit from each other. There are definitely not as many weird ‘quirks’ as I have in DT‘s songs, but I feel like it maintains the feel and the general spirit of the band, as well as Synestia‘s own influences. Sam is fantastic at riff writing and has a really good feel for pacing, which has lent really well to my more sporadic habits. I can’t wait to release more!’

Even with a split EP on the horizon, Disembodied Tyrant has much more planned. A first full-length release cycle will be announced shortly. They also hope to recruit additional members to bring their music to the stage, but are facing difficulty finding people able to manage the complexity of their material. Lastly, they hope to find an external producer to lighten the load on Mullens, who currently writes, mixes, and masters the material while performing both guitars and vocals. Mullens says, ‘I really wanna take this band as far as it can go, whatever it takes.’

That might be a common goal for bands, but with Disembodied Tyrant‘s penchant for impressive symphonic deathcore and a deathcore audience hungry for such material, I think the future is bright for the young band.

Disembodied Tyrant is:
Blake Mullens – vocals, guitar, songwriting, production
Rene Gerbrandij – drums

You can follow Disembodied Tyrant on Facebook and Instagram.

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