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It seems that early 90’s death metal invasion didn’t skip the state of Denmark either and although smaller than the Swedish death metal scene (for example), the Danish one had some quality bands active at that time among which were Konkhra, Maceration, Detest, Iniquity, Dominus, Infernal Torment and perhaps the best known of all, the long running (and still going strong) death metal band Iilldisposed. Formed in the city of Aarhus, they managed to secure a deal with the native Progress Records label and their debut “Four Depressed Seasons” was released in 1993.
Some of the characteristics of Illdisposed’s brand of death metal were already present on this first recording – throughout these 9 songs they prefer to dwell in mid-tempo territories (with the occasional D-beat and more rarely a somewhat primitive form of blast beat interspersed here and there to further the dynamics and enrich the structure of the tracks), with an accent on choppy and heavy riffs (which tend to sound a bit same-y after awhile though), the standard for this style (but really well done) low-end powerful growls of vocalist Bo Summer, and an overall sound which encompasses a variety of possible influences – from Cancer, (early) Death and Obituary through Baphomet (U.S.), Asphyx and Excruciate (Swe) to very early Sentenced (“Shadows Of Past” era), Cemetary (“An Evil Shade Of Grey”) and Demigod (“Slumber Of Sullen Eyes”). Already here it was clear that groove is an essential part of the band’s sound, with lots of double bass drums to support the chunky riffs, but Illdisposed also prove to have an eye for dark atmosphere, introducing some synth samples (like on the opening and closing track), some doomy parts and spoken female vocals to add to the mystery, and utilizing a few intriguing melodies in most of the songs, which I must say is a plus, but it doesn’t seem quite enough to produce definite “hits”, as most of the material tends to blend in together. That being said, “A Deathwork Orange... The Winter Of Our Discontempt” (which happens to be also the longest track on the album) probably deserves special and honorable mention, because in my opinion it serves as the best representation of Illdisposed’s early sound, shifting quite easily between slow and fast passages, and including some truly memorable moments (like the classic moment when the crushing music stops for a second and you can hear a perverse evil laughter and then immediately the band tunes in again with more pummeling death metal) and worthwhile riffs. Come to think of it, the malevolent “Inherit The Wind” ain’t too shabby either, and has some vicious opening riffs, as well as some delicious guitar solos towards the end, which would probably get at least a nod of approval from any fan of 90’s classic death-metal sound. A pinch of humour lightens a bit the overall feeling of gloom and wrath in the intro of the final song “With The Lost Souls On Our Side”, where a hilarious german speech is to be heard over the sound of bleating goats, after which the death metal mayhem returns one more time to finish you off. Curiously enough, all of the afore-mentioned tracks seem to be present on the “The Winter Of Our Discontempt” demo, which the band recorded prior to “Four Depressive Seasons”.
The production on this one is very representative of the period and the genre – not great, but clear and competent enough - with the exception of the ever-missing bass (at least I couldn’t hear it), all the other instruments seem to be balanced well and keeping in mind that this is a debut recording and the year is 1993, one shouldn’t have too many complaints with the sound.
All in all, Illdisposed recorded a solid debut, but in all honesty this period of time will be remembered with many other death metal classics and sadly “Four Depressive Seasons” doesn’t quite measure up to them. It is however only the beginning for Illdisposed…