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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.