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This album absolutely crushes!
I thought A Murderous Circus was awesome. Even if it was a let down from That Sullen Sulcus and a turn from the warmth of Dust, the sparse mood and the slow grinding build-up to much of that record kicked my butt. Even so, I know many people were horribly disappointed in that album and hoped for some kind of return to form.
Well, with A Disease For The Ages that is exactly what we receive. This album is full-on back in the groove. First of all, it's far more straight forward. The songs are still long but the somber clean guitar passages have been toned down considerably and the guitars have been beefed up and grind away like never before. Second, the clean vocals, though still used sparingly are way better than ever before. There are some truly incredible passages here that lift several portions of the album to even greater heights. Finally, the killer production has returned. Like I stated earlier the guitars are back and this time they are monstrous! It doesn't get much heavier and for doom/death there is no other option. The bass drum is again full and the vocals are harsh and vicious as ever. All the elements are there for this to rule but the songwriting is left to put it all together.
It took a bit to start getting this album, with my expectations high as they come (they and Evoken being fav doom/death bands), but this is without a doubt their best release thus far. It's completely brutal and when the melodies begin sinking in it just kills! This band has the ability, like no other, to just grab me and pummel me into submission with everything they've got. They weave in melody and a certain tension into their best material that just begs you to continue on. In the midst of it the sound can be crushing but in the end it's almost beautiful how it all comes together. This album takes all the best they have to offer and weaves together in what can only be considered a masterpiece of doom/death proportions.
As much as I'd love to say Daylight Dies had a chance before this album came out, this will undoubtedly be the best doom/death album I purchase this year. Considering The Sullen Sulcus was one of my top 5 doom releases of all time, A Disease For The Ages is reserving itself in that pantheon all the same.