Discounted Dirges: Disemballerina


Oregon string ensemble trio Disemballerina have just dropped their new album Poison Gown. To celebrate this, their fourth release since starting out in 2010, they have taken 20% off the price of their entire discography. This is good news for any of you with a penchant for doomy neo-classical dirges to offer some respite from your usual diet of inorganic metals.

Ever since stumbling across their self-titled debut on one of my casual solitary ambles through the depths of bandcamp, I’ve been coming back to this band. Hearing metal-like sensibilities in other genres has always appealed to me. Similar to the way I had been enthralled by the gypsy-thrash of Blue Mountains vagabonds The Crooked Fiddle Band, I was compelled to further explore the funereal lamentation of Portland’s Disemballerina.

The first track “Saturn Return” quietly ushers you into the candle-lit hall, beckoning you to take a seat on the vacant dry hay-bale just in time to be lured into the enchanting interplay between the strings. The solemn melody of the acoustic guitar is bestowed with the mournful draws of the cello and viola. By the time the second track (‘Thieves’ Oil’) kicks up a gear, it’s difficult to not be swept away in thoughts of an oncoming medieval battle scene.


The second release was a single track, 2-piece affair titled Sundowning, consisting of just an acoustic guitar and viola. It is a piece which smoulders like a burnt escarpment of woodland, remorseful and charred black. By the time the 8 minutes have elapsed, the ashes have been washed into the cracks in the earth left by the fire, where they will be sequestered indefinitely.

2014 brought the release of Undertaker, which saw the band work as a quartet, utilising a variety of extra instrumentation such as mandolas (the viola of the mandolin-class), harp, electric guitar, bandola, bajo quinto and an e-bow guitar. The results are brilliant. The record traverses through a range of worldly influences, without ever feeling contrived. At times I hear melancholic winds echoing across gently undulating Celtic pastures. Vacant of life. The rolling fogs ceaselessly engulfing the distant landscape. At other times, the additional instruments lend a Spanish and/or South American sound to the overall picture. The plucked natural harmonics chiming and ringing around each other in beautiful formation. The album art was created by viola/harpist Myles Donovon by placing found bird carcasses directly against the glass of photo-copiers (read more here).


This brings us to Disemballerina’s most recent release, Poison Gown. The band is reverting back to a three-piece and releasing 6 more beautiful tracks this November. The third track “That is the Head of the One Who Toyed with My Honor” is a chilling 3 minutes that includes the use of a machete; a great deal of metal bands would struggle to replicate the ominous feeling that Disemballerina achieve here. Henceforth, darkness haunts the remainder of the album. The band is currently looking for a label. This is an atrocity and must be resolved. This is some of the most captivating music I’ve heard in a long time. Organic, rich and engrossing.

You can pick up all 4 releases for just US$17 on their bandcamp page, also go ahead and show them some appreciation on their facebook page.

(Image viavia, via, via, via, via)

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  • Dubs

    Was Poison Gown recorded live?

    • Lacertilian

      Good question, it says it was recorded at Type Foundry in Portland, which appears to be a studio but it could have been a ‘Live Undead’ situation, who knows. I have only listened to that one a handful of times since it came out.

  • CyberneticOrganism
  • I thought for sure this was going to be boring…. I was very wrong. I am quite happy to be wrong!

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™


      • EDWAAAAAAAARD. How are you?!

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          I’m good man! I’m on my first day of a six day vacation but I’m gonna be at the auto mechanic for like four hours. Good thing I brought my headphones.

          How about you?

          • Vacation… nice! What ya working on?

            Getting along, man. Trying to finish work today. Time off tomorrow, prolly work Friday to bank the vacation day….

            When you start school again? First of the year? Or do you have to wait till next fall?

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            On my car? I took it in to get my headlight fixed because the bulb had a bad grounding. Needs like $1,400 worth of work. I’ve had this car a long time and had very little mechanical work done. She’s a beast, rock solid.

            Unless you meant what I’m listening to: Massive Conspriacy Against All Life and I don’t know what I’ll play after.

            Banking the vacation day, smart thinking.

            If I get accepted into either of the schools I am applying to (I will this time) next fall. Fall 2016.

            Are you off the FB GL?

          • $1400 sounds like a scam. God damn shops are crooks! try to do what you can. Save your $$$!

            When will you know about your applications, spring?

            Yeah… I got a little ambivalent yesterday and decided against it.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I’m generally very distrustful of mechanics but this shop seems pretty legit. Seems, lol

            Indeed. I’m thinking I will know by March or April.

            My roommate just deactivated his Facebook. Can’t blame anyone for that!

          • Hopefully you find out sooner!

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I’m pretty sure the college I graduated top of my class from will take me back. If not, seppuku.

          • more beer

            I have to agree with you about the distrust for mechanics. That is why I try and do all my own work on my truck. Sometimes that takes a little longer. But I know things are done done right.

          • The problem is the deception they can pull over people who do not have any mechanical knowledge. They can just rake people over the coals…. over and over and over and over…

            *blood pressure rising*

          • ┼yree

            Blood pressure washing>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          • MESSY!

            As a kid I worked for a fella who washed farm machinate, grain trucks, etc. We used a heated pressure washer. It was psweet.

          • more beer

            Those are so expensive though. I have used the before. It take a while for me to re coup my money on one of those. To use fr my job. They are awesome though.

          • Thats right! I forgot you did similar work!

          • more beer

            Yea and I really need to get out and do some of that soon. But it is still a little too cold out. I’m really busy this time of the year.

          • more beer

            They try to rake you over the coals even if you do have a clue. I re built the front end of my truck last week. Upper and lower ball joints, stabilizer bar links and bushings, inner and outer tie rods. It cost me about $400.00. It’s even driving straight so I didn’t need to get an alignment immediately. I will get one while I have some free time this weekend. I couldn’t imagine how bad a mechanic would have beat me down for that work. Especially since the was a lot of stuff just seized up and hard to get off.

          • hard to get off, hehehe

          • more beer

            Not everything has to do with your dick!

          • That’s what she said? Eh? maybe?

          • well, that’s just… The Way My Dick Is

          • Gah, all that stuff gets so rusted. Cutting it out is the only way! My stupid turd Ford Ranger is pulling pretty bad. I may have to hack the whole front end out… there is no way I can get it aligned in its current state of old age….

          • more beer

            The Sawz All was certainly my friend on that job. Along with a 3 pound sledge hammer and the pickle fork.

          • man, gotta get a pickle me fork! dont have one yet…

          • more beer

            Go with a craftsman. The inferior brands are just that. I have one that just doesn’t have the right angle to pop ball joints.

          • Roger

          • more beer

            I learned the hard way.

          • RJA

            seconded on inferior brands – Milwaukee for me.

          • Boss the “Crimson King” Ross

            Same here, sitting waiting on auto mechanics on my first day of vacation too.

          • what’s your vehicle’s ailment?

          • Boss the “Crimson King” Ross

            Just some standard service maintenence, nothing too crazy. I would normally do it myself but I no longer have the space to do it in with the apartment I’m in. And we’re driving quite a bit in the upcoming days so it needs it.

          • yeah……….. but it turns out your transmission is bad. it’d be illegal for me to let you drive away with it like this, we’re gonna have to replace it. sorry buddy, you seem like a nice guy; i wish it wasn’t this way.

          • Boss the “Crimson King” Ross

            Ha, someone tried to pull some shit like that on me before.

          • Waynecro

            No one will recharge the air conditioner in my ’93 Camry without retrofitting the entire AC system to meet new environmental standards. I’d have to spend $1,000+ for a new system instead of a few bucks for more refrigerant. Fucking bullshit.

          • it is. supposedly the only reason that the R12 was deemed harmful to the environment is that DuPont’s patent ran out and so they hired somebody to deem it so. then whala, R134a is invented (environmentally friendly of course) and patented!

  • This.Is.Amazing.


    • KJM, Shake Zula


      • Schwarzwald is one of the zones that I would like to see before I die.

        • KJM, Shake Zula

          You’d love the Vermont countryside.

          • Indeed. It’s very beautiful too.


          • KJM, Shake Zula

            I used to spend a lot of time in Randolph, VT when I was a teenager(not by choice). I’m a city person so it was pretty boring for me. The nearest store was a 20 minute walk, only 3 TV stations, and NO MUSIC. The scenery was incredible but that’s about it.

  • “The first track “Saturn Return” quietly ushers you into the candle-lit hall, beckoning you to take a seat on the vacant dry hay-bale just in time to be lured into the enchanting interplay between the strings”.

    Thank you, Lizard <3 This is truly amazing, I'm checking their brand of true melancholic nature goodness.

  • aye carumba, this is amazebro. lizard strieks again


    You rule, lizard

  • Dubs

    This was good. Reminded me of a less intense, more textural Visit.

    • Lacertilian

      Still gotta buy that album, so good.

  • Sundowning sounds darker. It reminds me of Tenhi and Nebelung.

    • Old Man Doom

      Their early demo recording of Sundowning is incredible. They said in an interview once that the death rattles at the beginning of the track are actual recordings of a friend. It’s very heavy stuff; I can’t approach it too often, but it is rewarding when I do.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Gorgeous stuff, Lacertilian.

  • Boss the “Crimson King” Ross

    Nice write up Lizard King.

  • Elizabeth Short

    Well, thank you for the reminder about this group and that when I went to buy their discography I discovered someone had hijacked my bank account and I managed to get it frozen before anything terrible happened. Helpful lizard.

    • Lacertilian

      You don’t use PayPal? All my bandcamp purchases are through them so it’s relatively safe.

      • Elizabeth Short

        Yes, I do. Somebody was very crafty, but I got it all resolved. Just someone maliciously trying to steal my next to no money. Hopefully they die in a fire, or at least their genitals attacked by a pit bull.

        • Lacertilian

          Pit bull first, then fire.

  • Waynecro

    I’m digging these tunes. Thanks, dude!