Disperse
Foreword


4.2
excellent

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
February 26th, 2017 | 70 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A transcendental curveball carries Disperse from dull djent to inspired metal that grooves and pops in all the right ways.

Bands that classify themselves as "djent" commonly fall flat by overemphasizing low-end and technicality. Though Poland's Disperse managed to avoid this common genre failing in their first release, the sublime Journey Through the Hidden Gardens, they fell right into it with follow-up Living Mirrors, leaving a lot of questions about what listeners could expect from Foreword. Would we get something prog-centric, airy, and purposeful with some kick as we did on Journey Through the Hidden Gardens, or another smattering of shred and balls-out djent as was presented on Living Mirrors"

While I'd readily welcome a true sequel to Journey Through, Foreword gives us something altogether different - atmospheric and pop metal in the veins of The Devin Townsend Project and David Maxim Micic's Eco that feels like a breath of fresh air for the group, and maybe even the genre as a whole.

Though guitar shredmaster Jakub Zytecki undoubtedly puts his stamp on the album, he manages to do it in a much less intrusive way than on Living Mirrors, allowing Disperse to be its own entity, rather than just a vehicle for Zytecki to shred on the high end and crush on the low end. And the new space available allows the group to flourish. Drums are free to set up some tasty grooves and fills throughout while the bass has a space to build a current that's much more free-flowing than anything audible through the tight constraints of Living Mirrors' rampant 8-string low-end. Atmospheric keys and and vocals (both performed by Rafal Biernacki) take a prominent position on the album alongside light, well-devised electronics. This is particularly noticeable in early tracks like "Stay" and "Bubbles," where the slower tempo and more deliberate and evocative nature of the music is established counter to Living Mirrors' comparatively frantic pace.

But perhaps most noticeable is that Zytecki's guitar work isn't so much scaled back so much as it's been made more attentive and intentional. While there were moments on the previous album where it felt like the guitars were throwing in everything and the kitchen sink simply to show that it could be done, the guitars on Foreword remind us how well Zytecki can set a scene and build an environment. Whether that's by hanging back and allowing some air to fill the space or by throwing together a slick rhythm that delegates the propulsion of the song to the other musical elements and providing solid support, its clear that Zytecki and Disperse have evolved as songwriters on Foreword.

What's that" You want specifics" Well, while the album on the whole has a dancy pop meets metal with a healthy dose of atmospherics vibe, there's plenty of room for some really heavy riffs (especially early on), very technical (if sometimes masterfully subtle) soloing, and mid-range vocals that round everything out in a comfortable and pleasing way. Tracks like "Tether," "Neon," "Gabriel," and "Does it Matter How Far"" have an incredible feel-good bounce to them that Disperse have never really showcased before, while title track "Foreword" shows off the group's electronic prowess and "Stay" and "Surrender" show that the group's metal chops are as strong as ever.

"The bros" will probably want something heavier when it's all said and done, but Disperse have put together a bit of a transcendent curveball with Foreword, showing that technical prowess can be sculpted into something tight and beautiful by breaking the djent-based progressive metal mold and embracing atmospherics and pop/dance sensibilities as well as a focus on the group, rather than just the guitar. While it sounds to me as though this is a band at a peak of cohesiveness and creativity, I can only hope that Disperse retain that creativity-nurturing, group-centered approach moving forward. If they do, we'll be in for a lot of great releases for years to come.




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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Moderator
February 26th 2017


2721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I like this more and more the more I listen to it. Might even increase in rating over time.

Digging: Benjamin Clementine - I Tell A Fly

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2017


15833 Comments


i was hoping this was good. i shall listen later for sure. good to see you again atomic its been a bit.

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2017


5472 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excited to hear this, especially if the bass is as lovely as I think I've interpreted from the review (which was lovely)

HarryBoBerry
February 26th 2017


479 Comments


"in the veins of The Devin Townsend Project and David Maxim Micic's Eco"

I'm sold, will check now

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2017


10195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

sooo good



prob gonna drop a review for it sometime soon

Toondude10
February 26th 2017


11714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

call me intrigued, will check

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

Toondude10
February 26th 2017


11714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2 tracks in and this is lovely so far

Hawks
February 26th 2017


52279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is ok. Reminds me a lot of Traced in Air, some decent moments, but meh overall.

Digging: The Body and Full Of Hell - Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light

Toondude10
February 26th 2017


11714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the kind of djent that I'm into instead of that derpy crap Periphery keeps farting out.

Hawks
February 26th 2017


52279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Periphery is terrible yeah.

NewBallistics
February 26th 2017


750 Comments


Pretty good. Surrender was definitely a highlight.

Maybe it's just me but this thing is drowning in way too mch reverb.

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2017


5472 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Reasonably reminiscent of the newest Skyharbor, although maybe slightly more technical I reckon

Which means I'll have to keep listening to it cos while I might think it's a bit airy and whatnot now, I can get all the hooks in place and probably enjoy it more in future.

Toondude10
February 26th 2017


11714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This reminds me of the latest Agent Fresco album, especially Tether. Very soft and atmospheric yet it has that modern technical touch to it.

teamster
February 26th 2017


2168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How much djent is actually in this? I hate that genre. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Viscera - 3 | Release Yourself Through Desperate Rituals

Hawks
February 26th 2017


52279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't really see this as djent at all tbh. More like atmospheric prog metal/pop rock.

Toondude10
February 26th 2017


11714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

there's definitely djenty rhythms and the amount of bass is there in certain areas but overall Hawks is pretty spot on.

bloc
February 26th 2017


45167 Comments


I'll check this out

Digging: Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver

Nomos
February 27th 2017


1588 Comments


This is very unique! I'm very early in but I'm liking it.

Edit: Insta-bought. This is so lovely and up-beat.

It's like Skyharbour meets poppy...Cynic? A bit cheesy here and there, but I like what they're trying. Very bouncy and saccharine and bittersweet.

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2017


5472 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I must admit, I'm considering buying it despite I'm not particularly fussed about it right now, cos I know it will grow on me like a rash :]

henryChinaski
February 27th 2017


3895 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening now and it sounds great so far.

Digging: Blood Cultures - Happy Birthday



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