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However, I always thought that Illdisposed is only just a promising group in the second league of the death metal bands, I have to say, 1-800 Vindication is a great album, maybe the band's best effort. But this music is only for those who don't try to commit suicide when they hear some clean vocal, metalcore parts, core-riffs and modern thrash elements among the melodic death metal riffs. Let's write a song with electronic samples and keyboards, a similar to the newer Dark Tranquillity, mix it with the clean metalcore choruses and then play it really modern. That's 1-800 Vindication in a nutshell. The only downside of this album is that not each song has the same quality, there are some tracks which are just simply good, but nothing outstanding. For example, their most successful video clip song 'Still Sane' is a weaker moment on this record, but 'Now We're History', 'I Believe In Me' or 'The Final Step' are extremely good, every melodic death metal fan should give these songs a listen.
The era of this album and its sequel 'Burn Me Wicked' was the highlight of this band's work (if we not mention the also great but a bit different 'There's Something Rotten...' album) so if you like modern melodic death metal, the modern Danish metal music or just this band, and this album isn't a part of your collection, then it's highly recommended for you.
I remember back when I was 14 and still in 8th grade or so, when a friend of mine came up before ethics and handed me this really cool new CD he just bought the other day, praising the band and telling our clique about how really cool the singer was, that he used words such as "baby" and "yeah" mixed with the growling nature of the stuff we usually discovered at that time. Back then we used to listen to In Flames or Dimmu Borgir and think they were really really brutal! How times have changed...
Today, after almost five years and an almost unlimited supply of bands to chose from in my collection, 1-800-Vindication from Denmark's "finest" (as they like to call themselves) Illdisposed still rocks every time I put it on. This is one of those albums that can be melodic and harsh at the same time, depends which mood you are in, but actually works both ways. The interesting this is that you can pay attention to the softer parts or let's call them elements of each song, relaxing yourself, or you can nod your head to the rythmic motion of each song's progression. 1-800-Vindication is a further step in the evolution of this amazing band that has managed to stay true to its death metal roots, while achieving a very good quality presentation of post-00s heavy metal. Although the riffing is subject to a near-Gothenburg experience at times and the music itself resembles other Scandinavian acts from one sequence to the other (At the Gates come repeatedly to mind), the band manages its own unique style that can be described as a post-modern cowboy bullride.
"It's you against the world
Or you against yourself"
Like a bulldozer this album rolls on the rocks roads of groovy excellence, crushing anything that stands in its way. The song structure is very basic, but also very effective and almost every track is spiced up with some really cool gimmick, be it a very memorable solo, synthesizer effects or simply well put song "breaks" (not the lame breakdown stuff you normally get today, but sophisticated smashing parts that accentuate a certain part beauteously). The distinct guitar effects that are reoccurring build up a certain cold, mechanical-like atmosphere. The effects that are frequently used are what I like to call the "drain" effect, because it sounds like something is going down in a spiral manner very fast. The recording itself couldn't be clearer, and if it were, then it would sound like generic modern crap. Instead the drums are pounding, while the guitars (including bass) are very audible and have a very slashing tone to them. But the really exciting thing about Illdisposed is their sense of humor. If you've ever seen these guys like, you will know how important it is for a band to have a good vocalist that represents the band with a vengeance. This guy, who calls his part or instrument in the band a "subwoofer" is amazing. Not only that he has a very substantial and voluminous voice, but he also stays true to what metal is lacking more and more in vocals: balls. Not only that he can grunt extremely low, but he also delivers great screams and can even sing! Now I don't mean operatic or epic tunes, but a very decent and solid wail, which adds a little color to some songs, especially after he lets it be and starts pushing that air through his throat and resumes the low-pitched grunts. Amazing guy.
The lyrics are also very good, which is really important for an overall good rating. If you have something important to say, then say it poetically or not, but get to the point really fast. That is the exact thing these lyrics do. Especially when accompanied by the explosive nature of the music. The basic formula is there, the potential and energy for more great music is here. This album is a high recommendation for any metal fan.
(metal-observer.com on 6.11.09)
Before starting this review, I would just like to warn that I have never listened to any of the other Illdisposed releases, so I only know a little about them. I had already heard vaguely about this band, as being one of the danish top death metal acts, so when I found this album (used) at a relatively low price I decided to buy it.
Well, the only thing I've heard about their previous works is that they were plain brutality with a very distinctive growl, but this album actually sounds a lot like melodic death metal. That is, by no means, a bad thing. Illdisposed have managed to mix Gothenburguesque melodies with brutal vocals and very subtle groove elements, making an original albeit short album that certainly runs from the typical In Flames / Dark Tranquillity cliches. The guitar riffs and solos are obviously drawn from that paticular genre of metal, but never fall into potential wankery like the guitar playing of their sweden comrades. Illdisposed keep it simple and brutal, avoiding exaggerated passages or any of that syntethized guitar crap. The drumming is also quite powerful, retaining many pure death metal elements, and altough there are samplers and keyboards like in most melodeath albums, these are used subtly only to create a groovy atmosphere, making the band sound like industrial metal at times. Bo Summer's growl is also one of the best I've heard: it is deep as the devil's own voice and would probably make you shit your pants if you heard it in a dark alley at night! There is some well-placed black metal shrieking and clean vocals in some songs, but not in all of them (once again we notice the how intelligent this band can keep away from the Gothenburg model), which make the album more acessible without sounding like a sell-out. The production is masterful - every instrument is in its place, the samples are very well used and the overall sound is both crushing and melodic.
This album won't satisfy old Illdisposed fans, from what I have heard, but anyone who is tired of In Flames clones coming from Sweden all the time and wants to listen to some original melodic death will love this album.
The persistence of some metal bands continues to astound me. Not least, the persistence of old school death metal bands. Never would I have predicted back in 1992, that we would see Danish deathsters Illdisposed release their finest album in 2004. Yet some thirteen years after the ‘Four Depressive Seasons’ here they are with ‘1-800 Vindication’. Could it be that after all this time, Illdisposed are about to gather the recognition that has been long overdue. Roadrunner records certainly thinks so. And although I’ve been screaming about this band for nigh on a decade and at the risk of repeating myself ad nausem, again all I can say is, it’s about fucking time!!
‘1-800 Vindication’ comes some three years after the ‘Kokaiinum’ disc of 2001 that was released on their former label DieHard. Line up changes are also to blame for the somewhat lengthy wait. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to have much affect on the product – this is some of the grooviest and melodically accessible death metal you’re likely to hear in the next 12 months. And it’s the ‘Groove’ element that makes Illdisposed such a likable entity. They’ve been trying the death metal groove since their glorious ‘Submit’ disc of 1994, but only the truly switched on fans have taken any notice. However, ‘1-800 Vindication’ basically ups the ante on all accounts. Super crunchy riffage are the order of the day here – riffs that are tight and viciously centered on laying an irrepressible groove that defies even the most skeptical death metal fan.
Enlisting the production services of former HateSphere guitarist Ziggy at Combi Sound Studio and Zig Zound Studio, you can be certain that this album sounds huge. But perhaps the main influence comes via the mixing hands of one Tue Madsen at Antfarm studio. There is a thickness and clarity achieved on ‘1-800’ that could only come via the masterful work of Tue Madsen. He has enabled the band to emphasise its long-standing Death Metal brutality but also capture the bands more melodic side like never before. Subtle industrial, electronic elements also weave a more experimental line through the whole album also.
Perhaps the most intriguing and somewhat negating aspect of Illdisposed’s whole sound is the vocals of Bo Summer. Bo has always been one of the more distinctive Death Metal vocalists and ‘1-800 V’ does nothing but uphold the Bo Summer tradition. Bo’s style is very low end and guttural. But it’s achieved with some killer studio enhancement that makes Bo sound almost inhuman and mechanically affected in delivery. Add to this some tasteful clean vocal experimentation and the odd black metal scream and the vocal variety provided here really strengthens the compositions written. Still, take heed Bo Summer is a brutal vocalist and the uninitiated might take some time to fully accept his performance.
Like previous efforts, the groove element of Illdisposed has always been their raison d’etre. However, with a strengthened melodic component, this band is a decidedly more powerful and confronting outfit. ‘1-800 V’ is the album they’ve been trying to make for the past decade. The ability to marry really groove-laden death metal with great hooks, without falling foul of their fan base has been a long-term goal and finally they’ve nailed it. This is still very much a classic Illdisposed album but one that sees the band evolve into the colossal beast they’ve always threatened to become. Fully deserved!!
Originally written for www.pyromusic.net
First things first, the Illdisposed of old is gone despite the fact that the line-up is more or less the same. There is no more heavy as fuck, crushing your throat "br00tal" deathmetal. Sadly. :(
When I learned that they had been signed to Roadrunner my expectations for this new album dropped significantly, but it seems that someone at Roadrunner isn't all stupid. Atleast they have one good band signed now.
What we find on the new disc "1-800 Vindication" is pretty much the natural progression from the 1997 album "There's Something Rotten... In the State of Denmark" and it's certainly tons better than the shitheap "Kokaiinum" they released in 2001.
For those of you that aren't familiar with Illdisposed (and I'm sure that that is nearly all of you) they used to be the premiere danish deathmetal band but starting in 1997 they had been listening a bit too much to the swedish brand of melodic deathmetal. They used to have the best growler in the business, the human subwoofer Bo Summer. He's still there, but his growl is now more of an intelligible bark and he occasionally dips into a higher register scream.
Anyway, despite my personal disappointment at what they have become "1-800 Vindication" is actually a fairly good album. It's no masterpiece, it's not essential to your collection (they debut, "Four Depressive Seasons" is though). What it is though, is 36 minutes of enjoyable Gothenburg-tinged melodic deathmetal and as much as I loathe the term it really is melodic deathmetal. You needn't worry that this is another blatant Gothenburg clone, the Illdisposed boys still have their feet solidly planted in Denmark and the Danish deathmetal sound is still there, it is merely a swedish influence. Hell, they're even poking a bit of fun at Aman Amarth in one of the songs.
Getting back to the vocals, we find clean vocals during the chorus' of some of the songs, courtesy of one Jeff Hunter and they aren't all that bad actually. Thankfully they didn't go overboard and throw them at us at every chorus. Musically this is tight as always, good drumming and some tasty riffs and leads.
What I'm trying to get at here is that "1-800 Vindication" is a fun album, despite the somewhat stupid title, it's a delightful 36 minute romp through a nicely defined soundstage and it's an album I find myself listening to frequently despite it not being a masterful piece of art or a profound revelation of metal. It doesn't require intensive listening in order to be fully understood, there's no hidden agenda, no ideology. It is simply pure fun as witnessed by the song "Jeff" which starts off with a sample from Wayne's World 2.
In short, if you like "There's Something Rotten..." or just generally can't get enough of melodic deathmetal, or maybe if you think that the vast amounts of melo-death bands coming out could use some real growling then this album is for you.