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Karsten Jager...sick, sick, sick!! - 82%

krozza, April 12th, 2005

I have a real soft spot for this band. Ever since I heard their ‘Infected’ disc from 1998, I have been very impressed with their dark brooding style. 2001’s ‘Worst Enemy’ confirmed their status even further. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I missed on their next two albums (2002’s Shine and 2003’s Spreading the Rage’). Grabbing the chance to review this new one excited me – I was extremely keen to see how they had progressed. With a massive profile in their home country of Germany, album no.6 could prove to be somewhat of a watershed for the band. One that could attract some well deserved world wide attention.

Listening to ‘66Sick’ it is clear to me that Disbelief have continued to forge their own sound. For some strange reason they’re currently being touted as some sort of ‘death-thrash’ act. And while there is certainly a tad more pace and up tempo elements evident on this new album I still prefer to think of Disbelief as a melancholic Dark Metal act. Disbelief’s strength has always been their ability to create magnificently heavy, incredibly dense, claustrophobic music that leaves the listener physically drained by the albums end. Always exceedingly intense, Disbelief’s music is laced with a dark, emotional rage that burns like a thousand suns. ‘66Sick’ holds all of those characteristics in tow, but this time delivered with even more power and depth.

There are two main reasons why this is possibly Disbelief’s most devastating album yet - The production and vocalist Karsten Jager. With Disbelief now signed to the mighty Nuclear Blast roster (from Massacre), there has also been a change in producer. Not that Andy Classen didn’t do the job on previous efforts however, the acquisition of Tue Madsen services has fully realised the Disbelief sound. That essential dark, almost restless claustrophobic atmosphere has been captured brilliantly by Tue. Furthermore, the bands improved song writing has allowed Tue to emphasise the light and shade that so encompasses their style. From incredibly massive drum work (via Kai Bergerin) to the understated, restrained melancholy and gentle psychedelic guitar work, Madsen has allowed Disbelief to become an even more emotionally destructive force.

Then there is Karsten Jager. Without this man, Disbelief is nothing. Jager has always been the driving force of this band. I remember being floored by his incredibly tortured vocal style the first time I heard it. Nothing has changed folks. Admittedly, Jager isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you want to hear one of more intense and emotionally laden death metal voices around, Jager’s is it. The fact that he moves effortlessly between blind rage (‘Sick’) and moments of painful melancholic clean verses (‘Continue From this Point’) is also a testament to the man’s talents. All I can do as a comparison is throw up names like Donald Tardy (Obituary) and Alan.A.Nemtheanga (Primordial) - Jager is the perfect combination of both.

There are fleeting moments on ‘66Sick’ (particularly on the more up-tempo tracks) where Disbelief almost veers into a modern metal style of play and while I don’t totally dislike it, it is these moments where they possibly lose some of their unique style. Thankfully, the band keeps this in check and as a result they stick to the darker mysterious vibe they’ve become known for.

If emotive dark metal with incredibly intense vocals sounds appealing, then Disbelief is one of the more creative song writers performing the style. These guys are unique and different. In a scene that offers up clone after clone, that means a hell of a lot.


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