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Oh I see, we're doing the "extreme prog" thing now - 68%

MutantClannfear, June 27th, 2013

I'll be upfront: the most positive thing I can probably say about this is that "it's nowhere near as awful as you're probably expecting". That's not a very glowing endorsement, I'm aware, but is Rebirth really an album that's worth describing as "glowing"? Really, the only thing about this that "glows" is the cover art. Perhaps I'm being too harsh towards the band, considering the members are probably all wrinkly and middle-aged now, but you can't make your first album one of the best OSDM albums of all time and expect people to not give a shit when your strength starts faltering. This is rather disappointing.

In Rebirth's defense, there was quite obviously a lot of effort put into the making of this album. It's not a lazy cash-in on the band's reputation (or, to be more realistic, the iota of praise they received for releasing Vast all the way back in 1995), it's an album that still feels like Disaffected but with a bunch of general prog-isms that indicate the band are trying to push themselves in a more grandiose direction. This was probably marketed more towards the kind of progressive metal fans that love super-drawn-out, "epic" compositions that come dangerously close to the 10-minute mark in length, but it's kind of lost on me as someone who liked Vast as a death metal album with the occasional weird riff and wacky elements, considering I didn't think of it as "Wow, this is so weird and random and complex! WHOA they used a death metal riff wow!!!"

The riffs from the debut album are still here, full of those quirky, "off"-sounding but relatively pretty melodies, except they're quite obviously the focus of the music this time around and it shows. Their quality surprisingly hasn't wavered too badly over the years; for the most part they're just as good here as they were on Vast. On the other hand, they're a bit more upfront and just kind of sound full of themselves, and furthermore, they're starting to occupy more time slots than the actual pure-blooded death metal riffs are. They're also starting to get a bit wanky - not overwhelmingly technical or anything, but just shifting between time signatures and tempos without any conceivable purpose to it.

Rebirth drags, and horribly. I mean, look at the track list - the first three actual songs are twenty-seven fucking minutes long. Exactly who wanted or needed a Disaffected song over eight minutes long, let alone four on the same album!? Granted, the songs don't really meander as badly as they could, and always feel like they're going somewhere if you give them long enough, but the climaxes of the songs are simply too weak to justify their absurd length. The rest of the songs don't fare much better, considering that the shortest song (barring the interlude, intro and outro) still threatens to breach the five-minute mark. And whose great idea was it to put three out of four of the epics as the first three real songs of the album? They're so massively inflated that they seriously threaten to make you sick of the album before it even gets fired up. Why not put a (relatively) straightforward song like "Our Will" up near the front instead?

If you've seen the tracklist, you might be thinking by now that 66 minutes is a rather ambitious length for a death metal album. Well, that's probably because the death metal influence is spread pretty thin this time around - I think this could better be placed under that vague umbrella term of "progressive extreme metal", because really it's just wacky, carnival-esque prog riffs with a death metal riff thrown in every once in a while. Even the vocals are too varied to be called straight death metal - the venomous, old-school rasps return from the debut, but aside from that there's a lot of introspective mumbling (similar to the kind used on Vast for quieter parts, like the intro of "Unlimited Vision"), vocoders, plain talking and even a touch of mediocre female vocals on a couple of songs. All-in-all I suppose the vocals are pretty well-performed if they're being sung by a bunch of relatively old guys now, but they're definitely weaker than the debut's and some of them (like the whiny robot vocoders) just sound embarrassing.

I suppose Disaffected know that they've changed their style to be more of "prog-metal with death metal influences" instead of actual "progressive death metal" - the album title, the new logo which bears no resemblance to death metal and the sheer variance of influences in the music here all speak for that themselves. My verdict on the album that reflects these changes: it's okay for what it is, and certainly tolerable on an individual scale. But unless you're the biggest Disaffected fan ever who would be cheering even if this sounded like Limp Bizkit, or you have a thing for proggy bands with absurdly stretched-out and complex songs that move from point A to point B by traveling through points C-through-Z and then back, you'll agree that this doesn't hold a candle to the debut.