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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