There’s Something Rotten… in the State of Denmark, I believe it’s the stench of death! Following on from Sense of Darkness, and still under the watchful eye of Germany’s dealers of hard and heavy (Massacre Records), Illdisposed are back with the 12th full-length installment in their mighty discography. And true to form it’s a mash-up of artfully used metalcore riffing and modern thrash with some head-bangs towards Legion of the Damned, bound together with a big Parasite Inc melo-death colored ribbon that grasps furiously at melody while trying its utmost to give you a brutal Pantera-style wedgie.
“Going Down” is the aptly titled opening track. It takes a few moments to give you an idea where it’s headed, and down would be right – not the strongest opening. The album really gets going in “The Way We Choose” and “Light in the Dark,” which consist of a grudgingly slow death-doom buildup that brings to mind flashes of Cerekloth‘s latest release. Not too far into the songs the state changes and you’re lambasted with Bo Summer’s vengeful vocals, consisting of low subwoofer grunts that drag you unceremoniously to a meeting with the Devil himself. Laced with studio enhancement, Bo’s ferocious vocal whiplash has an almost mechanical inhuman quality that gives his delivery an unnatural feel and it’s brought even more to the fore by being placed so high in the mix. Bo’s in the room and Illdisposed are not letting you forget it!
Going back through Illdisposed‘s discography With the Lost Souls on Our Side reminds me most of a return to what these illusionists packed into The Prestige, there’s also plenty of the 80’s style soloing you’ll remember from There’s Something Rotten and as always, there’s the obligatory spoken soundbite that you’ll either love or hate… personally I’d like to see its cheese factor going, going, gone. A lot of LSoOS sounds less interesting than what I remember of 1.800 Vindication and there’s a lot less of the vocal variety of Burn Me Wicked which is a shame. “On a Clouded Morning,” “The Plan,” “Life Equals Zero” and “Reversed” try to bring back some of the dual vocal excitement of the earlier material, but wading through so many tracks, including two digipak extras, just to get this little fix is a bit like being doused in cold water.
Every track twists and turns with well placed stops, pace changes, full on Behemoth assaults, a devastating synergy of aggression and the chilling sensations of near nothing. Illdisposed have been in the game for a long time and (despite the addition of new drummer Kim Langkjær Jensen back in 2013), it shows. Their instrumentation is confrontational and delivered with nothing less than absolute precision, and while there are no complex and technically demanding arrangements to be found, that’s not what Illdisposed are famous for anyway.
LSoOS is impaired by the same fate as many of Illdisposed‘s earlier releases, suffering from their propensity to include a few great tracks nestled in with filler. Barring the opener, the front of the album is loaded with great and catchy material then tapering off before culminating with greatness on “The Plan.” Apart from this, LSoOS has a decent, logical flow and a modern mix with enough grit for this melo-death offering courtesy of Denmark’s Antfarm Studio and Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Mnemic and Hatesphere). The digipak extras have some great moments, but be warned, “Reversed” just doesn’t die. Like Re-Animator, you’ll find it coming back to life in the same lurching, destructive fashion as Dr. Hans Gruber. Yes, they gave “Reversed” life, but I think the dosage was off. A good album that may take a few listens to settle into place, but settle in it does.