Review Summary: Latest offering from this tortured extreme metal band delivers a dynamic and pleasurable packinging of joyful misery.
Miserable, loathing, intense, melancholic, tortured... Yet defiant and with a very faint glimmer of hope can best describe the music of Disbelief. Disbelief is one of 'those' metal bands that are hard to categorize properly, due to the different influences from other metal genres, that they have somehow skillfully integrated into their albums over their 18-year history to create a unique sound they can call their own. After having consistently released 6 high-quality albums over their career, the 7th album from these brooding Germans will leave you drained physically and emotionally and will leave your ears numb.
The music can best be described as death metal blended with a small smattering of doom with hints of trash and even some sludge. The tempos of the songs are mostly a mid-paced affair (in the context of extreme music that is), and although varied enough, it is this quality of their songwriting that gives their music a slight dark/doom edge. The album is very dynamic and shifts from loud to soft and from mid-paced to fast a lot but is luckily used to great effect to carry along the album with some needed variation. Whilst the production of the album is nothing stellar, being almost old-school in its approach, it is certainly far from bad and just serves to highlight the main strenghts of the band, this being the vocals and guitars.
The heart of the band is undeniably the founding member and vocalist Karsten "Jagger" Jager. The man has one of the most intense and emotionally expressive voices in extreme metal I have ever heard and without it the band would be average at best. His vocal range extends from utterly ridiculous low-pitched snarls of fury, that are so great that one just can't help from tilting your head back and howling with the man to ease his pain, to clean "singing" which is more spoken than sung but is thankfully not overused. The spoken/sung parts may put off some listeners but I feel that it fits in perfectly within the mood of the songs to give it that doom and gloom vibe.
Another highlight are the guitars which are incredibly dense and in your face with an approriate sense of melody. Don't expect any technical solos or virtuso riffing though, the guitars are squarely aimed at knocking you down hard and keep you there by continously pummeling you till you cry like a little girl. The thick and dense sound of the guitars also help to create an almost breathless atmosphere and vary from soft gentle strumming to all-out brutality to keep proceedings interesting.
Bass guitar, as with most death/extreme bands is almost unnoticable, especially with the greater emphasis placed on the vocals and distorted guitars but the bass playing is adequate when you do actually hear it. Drums are bit back in the mix and don't really sound as good as it could be with the snare varying in quality for some reason, sounding quite tinny sometimes but in other parts its sounds just fine. The drummer certainly knows his stuff and keeps with the tempo brilliantly. It will not be the best drumming you ever heard but the drums are filled with interesting fills every now and then that will suprise you and remind you that the drums are actually there within all the carnage.
The opening title track, 'Navigator', kicks off good with some crazy kick and snare bashing and although the song is good, it may not sound too impressive at first and to me is one of the weaker tracks on the album. The next track, 'When Silence Is Broken' will change your mind, especially with the great atmospheric pre-chorus part that kicks in at around the 1min mark (guarenteed to give goosebumps) and from here on the album just gets more interesting and better. Tracks like 'Between Red Lines', 'It's Simply There' and 'Selected' carry the album along nicely and there really is no bad track on this album for me, only good songs all around with a few songs that stick out more than the others. 'Falling Down' and 'Passengers' being two of these highlights, especially 'Passenger', the longest song on the album, clocking in at 6:15 and differs itself from the other tracks by being the most doom-ish metal song on the album.
It must be noted that if you're looking for awe-inspiring and epic lyrics about Satan and eating your ex-girlfriend's brain out then you will unfortunately not find it here. The lyrics are very simple and is mostly about struggling with your inner demons, loss, hopelessness and misery (the word misery being used on quite a few occasions in the lyrics) BUT as mentioned at the start of the review, there is also an almost defiant 'i will not take this crap anymore' feel to the lyrics that gives it a sense of hope. That yes, you may actually recover and be "normal" again after being kicked in the balls repeatedly and flung down a well of despair for 10 years with no food, light or water.
All-in-all, if you consider yourself a savvy extreme metalhead, then give this album a try, if the musicianship doesn't impress you the terrifyingly intense and expressive death vocals certainly will. Another great album from a great metal band.
-Awsome, intense and expressive vocal performance
-Great guitar work carries the album along smoothly
-Enough variation in the songs keeps things interesting
-Excellent music to release your inner demons to
-Bass doesn't really serve a proper role
-Drumming is adequate but nothing spectacular
-Lyrics rely on repetition alot
RECOMMENDED TRACKS TO CHECK OUT:
-When Silence Is Broken
-Between Red Lines
P.S. - This is my first review EVER. I hope it has been helpful and any constructive criticism will be valued.