Disengage – Application for an Afterlife

Application for an Afterlife

Somehow, in the past 10 years, Disengage managed to sneak under my radar. Having never heard the band, I was not sure what exactly to expect. However, being released on Fractured Transmitter (who also released Meshuggah’s excellent I) and with artwork done by none other than Derek Hess, I assumed I was in for something heavy.

Formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995, Disengage plays some pretty decent heavy music that teeters on the line between rock and hardcore, all with a bit of a punk undercurrent. The band has released material with Man’s Ruin in the past; however, Application for an Afterlife is the band’s first full-length for Fractured Transmitter and third overall.

If you will, imagine the bustling bottom-end heaviness of Helmet, the fuzzed-out goodness of Kyuss, and a punk edge a la Black Flag and you get the basic idea of what Disengage is all about. Combine this with Jason Byers’ unique vocals and intelligent lyrics and we have ourselves a meaty slab of driving, hard rock for the thinking man. I’ve heard talk of a Black Sabbath influence, and it does indeed shine through occassionally, but I feel Kyuss is far more accurate. The influence is subtle, keeping it from being labeled within the realm of stoner rock, but it is worth mentioning.

The songwriting is pretty solid with nice, strong song structures, but “solid” doesn’t do much for me and I got bored fairly quickly. The production is a little dry as well. Some warmth and depth added to the rhythm section would help fill up the space and really add a heavy edge to their sound.

Application for an Afterlife is solid all the way around, which can’t be said for many albums. The band’s sound is nearly perfected, and the songwriting is consistent, but there frankly isn’t much to grab on to. Considering that these guys have been around for 10 years now, it doesn’t leave much optimism for the future, but perhaps they will tweak their sound a bit and unleash a monster in the next few years. Only time will tell.