Dhishti - Life Is Suffering review
|Album:||Life Is Suffering|
|Release date:||May 2023|
01. කන්නලවුව (Kannalaua)
02. මරණාශෘති (Maranashruti)
03. සූර්යවංශ කාළ සජ්ඣායනා (Sooryawansha Kala Sajhayana)
04. දිෂ්ටි (Dhishti)
05. නීච පාප (Neecha Paapa)
06. අක්ෂිධාරා (Akshidhara)
07. මරුදැපවිල්ල (Marudepawilla)
Who would have thought that ancient Sri Lankan traditions would hold an inspirational source for an atmospheric, depressive black metal album?
Life Is Suffering is the third full-length release by the Sri Lankan-based quintet black metal band Dhishti, who formed back in 2009. Life Is Suffering is theoretically a concept based on ancient traditions, rituals and practices, that still continue to this day. The band name even suggests a theme centred around these ancient beliefs, with "Dhishti" being the Sinhalese term for demonic possession. In ancient tradition, the people of Sri Lanka believed demonic processions were responsible for mental illnesses, (evil spirits, also known as "Dhishti"). A variety of rituals, known as Thovil, were conducted to treat those effected, and this album speaks about those traditional beliefs and practices, that are still followed today by certain groups of people.
Life Is Suffering uses lyrics specifically taken from an ancient form of the native Sinhalan language, which can be dated back 2000 years, and this certainly adds to a greater level of originality and authenticity. Dhishti's musical style is primarily focused on atmospheric black, although elements of depressive black (DSBM) are also featured within its structure, hence why Dhishti refer to themselves, understandably, as an atmospheric depressive black metal band.
The album features seven tracks, with a total running length of forty-six minutes, three of the tracks clock in at over eight minutes in length. However, the opening track කන්නලවුව (Kannalaua), acts as a short intro, which sets the album's theme in motion. The track begins in a ritualistic fashion, with sinister, occult-like chanting in the ancient Sinhalan language. The third track, සූර්යවංශ කාළ සජ්ඣායනා (Sooryawansha Kala Sajhayana), is when I find things really start to get going. It's here where I find the atmosphere really begin to take shape, and the DSBM elements also come into play. The track has a touch of Leviathan about it, with those agonizingly high-pitch shrieks and tortuous wails, as well as the blackened tremolo picking, which is mostly a repetitive and hypnotic rhythm. The track gives the listener a real sense of despair and uncomfortableness, and the occasional tribal drumming effect also helps contribute towards that atmospheric approach.
The album continues, more or less, in this fashion. The guitar tone has a trve Norwegian black metal sound quality, providing that powerful, raw, sinister edge, although the production is slightly more modernized. The vocals almost feature in the background, a touch behind the instrumentation, which I find helps keep the listener engrossed in the dark, twisted atmospheric setting. The riffs are mostly repetitive and hypnotic, however, there are several instances where a melodious riff takes place, and also some striking lead guitar work, which mixes the structure up a wee bit. One of the most notable riffs for me has to be the heavy, melodic opening riff on මරුදැපවිල්ල (Marudepawilla). This is quite a melodic track in comparison to what the rest of the album offers, and rather than an atmospheric approach it reminds me more of something along the lines of early Burzum, or Satyricon.
Overall, Dhishti provides us with an interesting concept that introduces us to some of the darkest and mysterious traditions of their ancestral past, some of which you'll be amazed that are still in practice today. With Life Is Suffering they do a great job in creating the dark, disturbing, and depressingly atmospheric soundscapes to match the theme the album is based upon, vividly bringing to life the shocking reality of those who suffered in the process of those practices.
||Written on 24.05.2023 by|
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