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Even though this album has not yet the intensity and consistence of the amazing milestone "The perpetual motion", this first album was already a big hint and showed us what would await us two years later. "The nameless disease" has a very intellectual, personal and dark approach as it is a conceptual album about the suicide of the former drummer of "The old dead tree". It was surely difficult for the musicians and their friends to deal with the death of their band mate and friend and this album has almost something of an authentic therapy. The danger concerning that kind of difficult topic is that it might not honour the dead drummer and fail its high expectations by putting too many clichés in it. But everything about this album is authentic and drowns you into the mind of a suicidal and the thoughts, hopes and fears of his surroundings. With the very first album, the band has already created something intense and personal that I have never seen or heard before and it is probably one of the best debut albums of all times. Every song has something special and intense and I would just like to describe the first three masterpieces to not write a whole book about it. The only reason why I didn't give amongst the highest ratings is that the second album of the band would be even more diversified and dark. In addition to that I might admit that the strongest tracks of this record are all in the beginning and that's why the second part of the album seems maybe slightly inferior but is still at a high level.
The amazing opener "We cry as one" already drowns the listener into a very dark and mystical atmosphere. This is really a masterpiece as there are not many tracks that introduce in such a direct and yet smooth way into the general mood of the album after only a few seconds. When the singer begins to whisper his words of sweet sorrow, I have immediately goose bumps. The first track is much diversified, brilliantly sung and technically perfect. The bass guitar is especially audible in the bridge, the double bass speed attacks and yet diversified drum loops are pounding like a wounded heart, the melancholic guitar riffs are in perfect harmony with the emotional vocals. Dark gothic metal meets progressive influences in this opener that is already better than anything Opeth and other bands of that kind have ever done in their entire career. And remember that this was only the first song.
The band immediately continues on a high level with "It can't be" and blows away all my doubts and fears instantly. The very unusual and intense opening that is once again brilliantly sung by the heavily underrated Manuel Munoz is surprising. The verses and lyrics are catchy and present an authentic song about despair and how to deal with death.
"How could you?" is as emotional and continues on a very melancholic note, especially the middle part with its melancholic guitar lines is haunting and unforgettable. Strange sound effects meet pounding tribal drums and create a hypnotizing and haunting mood of the grandest kind. This song takes an intense look at a broken soul. The lyrics are very philosophical just as the whole album is. I don't care that the vocabulary of this French band may not be that diversified and that the singer has a very strong accent as this gives a certain charm and uniqueness to the band. The lyrics are quite direct and touch you even more by being quite simple.
Every song has something special and I could endlessly continue to write and describe those songs but the thing is that everyone has to discover them on their own. Everything about this album is professional and still emotional. The vocal skills of Manuel Munoz are truly amazing, the delicate and diversified bass lines by Vincent Danhier are well hidden but present throughout the whole album, the guitar play by Nicolas Chevrollier is transcending and the drum skills by Franck Métayer perfectly fit to the album. The production of the songs is just perfect and has many edges and transmits directly the emotions of each song. The bass introductions in "Won't follow him", the soft acoustic ballad passages in the intense hidden gem "Somewhere else", the haunting and dominating vocals in "Joy and happiness", the weird and very progressive sound effects of the floating instrumental track "Transition", the almost jazzy introduction and the haunting choral overdubs of "Quietly kissing death", the haunting telephone sounds of "All" and finally the brilliant acoustic introduction and spoken word passages of the final experimental masterpiece "The bathroom monologue" are all worth listening the whole album over and over again.
There is no single filler on the record, but let me underline the epic and extremely progressive "It's the same for everyone" that takes you on a melancholic voyage over seven emotional minutes. Alongside the first two tracks and maybe the final "The bathroom monologue", this is probably the masterpiece of the album if we have to point out a few songs.
To keep it short, this is a highly underrated album and maybe one of the best debut albums ever made. No other band sounds like "The old dead tree" and with this masterpiece their legacy will live eternally. Now get this album and live an amazing experience...
If there was something to be singled out in this otherwise unnoticeable album, it would be the lyrics. The whole work is conceived as a tribute to the band’s former drummer Frédéric Guillemot, who had committed suicide, and the texts, though rather simple, manage to sound both moving and thought-provoking without ever becoming whiny. Yes, every word here sounds so true, the guys really must have written this with their hearts. If only the music had been recorded the same way, this album could really have become another depressive masterpiece, all the more as one member of the band also plays in the extreme atmospheric doom act Monolithe. Unfortunately...
... unfortunately, after having listened to a couple of songs from this release, one soon understands there is very little to be expected. The Old Dead Tree’s music reminds me of the kind of “depressive rock” once great doom bands like Paradise Lost or Katatonia are now playing. More complex and a tad more aggressive maybe, but the core isn't very different. The vocals consist predominantly in whiny clean singing, and most of the time sound so pop-ish they are unlistenable, especially as soon as the singer hits the highest notes. Scarce growled parts show nothing exceptional as well, and while they’re nowhere near awful they still can’t redeem the horrible clean parts.
Now if one can survive the singing, the music doesn’t have really more to offer as well. As stated before, it stands somewhere on the border between metal and rock, closer to the metal side however, but that doesn’t imply any good. Punctual riffs are poorly written, not slow enough to do good crushing doom metal, but not fast enough to prevent the listener from yawning all along these eleven mellow songs. Don’t misunderstand me, this album isn’t in any way related to doom metal, and even calling this gothic metal is doing an offence to genuinely talented gothic/doom bands like Draconian or Type O Negative.
Indeed, as often when dealing with this kind of music, the guys also have a bad inclination for the so-called “progressive” side. As almost everything, this could be done in more or less good fashion; here it’s generally done wrong. Sleep-inducing acoustic passages displayed amongst the tracks, “complex” songs heading to nowhere – especially in the second half of the album, what ends up making every track completely undistinguishable – and, of course, the certainly unavoidable and awful bass solo (if you really need to check, at the beginning of the fourth track). Coming to the production, it is pretty clear, but adds nothing to the music.
I don’t say everything is utterly terrible here. The last track, The Bathroom Monologue, while not being a masterpiece by any mean, is still a decent semi-acoustic melodic rock song, and disseminated amongst the whole album you may manage to find some pleasant, but short, instrumental passages. What certainly doesn’t prevent this album from having been a complete waste of my money.
Well, guys, your poor friend must be rolling in his grave...
Remember Stabbing Westward? They were this almost industrial nu-metal act that had a couple singles back in the day. Well, this band sounds like a much much gayer version of them.
The vocalist reminds me of the guys from Staind and Stereomud and the band is musically devoid of anything remotely decent, relying predominately on simple mallcore-esque riff structures with the occasional faux acoustic moments a la A Perfect Circle or even Creed. Of course, the softer moments build back up to the "heavy" riffing with a very simplistic bass and/or bass drum pattern as per Godsmack or Tool. Yeah, sure, there are occasional growls or solos, but both atop a slab of mallcore mean absolutely nothing. Would Linkin Park all of a sudden be "metal" if they had growls and solos? I think not.
So is there anything redeeming at all? Hell no! Why this band is even listed at this site, or was recommended to me by a fan of raw black metal, I will never be able to fathom. I'm sure fans of Opeth and other faux progressive bands that slap 4 solos and 3 minutes of growling on their otherwise rock/pop albums would eat this crap up, but I'm not falling for it.
The Old Dead Tree played a few shows supporting Opeth on their Damnation tour. That's how I got to know this fantastic French band. At the show in Biebob, Vosselaar I purchased their album "The Nameless Disease", not really knowing what to expect from it, because unfortunately I had missed their show...
Well, after digesting it for a while I have decided that this is my favourite album of 2003 so far! Yes it's better than the new Opeth and new Iron Maiden, two of my favourite bands! But why is this album so good? To me this album is great for many reasons, though the most important one for me are the lyrics. Yes, the lyrics! I'm not a sensitive person at all and yet, these lyrics really, really touch me. This album is dedicated to the memory of their former drummer Frédéric Guillemot who commited suicide. Each and every song gives me the shivers!
But lyrics alone don't make great music. That's where Manuel Munoz and Nicolas Chevrollier's compositions come in. The band plays a unique hybrid of extreme metal, gothic and pop. There are no solos, but this kind of music doesn't need guitar solos. Finally the music is layered with Manuel Munoz' powerful and emotional vocals ranging from deep, gutteral growls to beautiful melodies.
This album is definitely the biggest surprise of the year from me. If I could recommend you one album this would be it! A band to look out for in the future!!