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Mixing geniality and snooze - 60%

morbert, May 29th, 2020

Well, if you know me and if you know Disharmonic Orchestra, you'll know that over the years I reviewed pretty much all their stuff here on metal archives. But not this one. This had a reason. I didn't know what to make of it. Now, some 3,5 years later, I pretty much do. And what did I make of it? Well, the album has some moments where it struggles with its own identity and quite often gets really....boring. That's why.

I won't go into detail about all their previous albums and what made each of them stand out. Just read my reviews on those. What Fear of Angst (FoA) does mostly is nothing new nor daring. It's lacking that middle finger approach. Secondly all previous albums were rather consistent but Fear Of Angst is not.

"Flushing the Primary" is really a great song if you like what they did stylewise on the 'Pleasuredome' album. A highlight on the album. It's a trip. "Aura" is quite different and has a strong hardcore-punk vibe to it and often an enjoyable and energetic high pace. "Rascal in Me", despite being over 6 minutes, stays fascinating and has a lot happening. A tech-death metal band doing Biohazard with a Paradise Lost middle section? Yes, it actually feels exactly like that! As I said, fascinating song!

Had the album focussed on these two main ingredients, being eerie Pleasurdome sections/riffs with melodic doom on one side and hardcore punk based songs on the other, it might have been a very good album. And even one showing yet another side of Disharmonic (more obvious hardcore). But unfortunately Fear Of Angst has even more ingredients than that and not all are equally succesful.

It's on songs like 'Innamorato' where it gets a bit dull. It is just based on nineties midpaced and groovy death metal but without any real standout moments. Simple riffing and slightly rawer vocals. However it could still have been an okay song because in their earlier days Disharmonic were able to create the best songs from the simplest of ideas. In Disharmonics case that would often have been the drums taking the spotlight.

If only Martin Messner hadn't kept the drums very restrained and 'mainstream' on large parts of this album compared to his younger self, it would not have been such a monotone experience on large parts of this album. Remember how he once made songs like 'Unsupported By Evidence', 'Unequalled Visual Response Mechanism' or 'Compulsorily Screaming' really stand out from any other death metal or grindcore act back in the late eighties / early nineties? I just don't get why the vocals and guitars have grown throughout the years but the creativity and intensity of the drums actually degraded into normality.

"Protone Radius" in all honesty sounds like 1996 Sepultura covering a No Means No tune but the song, clocking over 5 minutes, misses real tension and there is no eruption, which it really, really needs. The climax doesn't come and one just tends to lose interest after a while. "The Venus Between Us" (apart from the cool bassline intro), has not much happening. Some small parts and riffs have a great Pleasuredome vibe but it's mostly groovy chugging in the verses which is annoyingly dull. Not their finest moment, especially because they made an actual video for the song. It just doesn't represent the best aspects of the album.

So in the end Fear Of Angst has a few moments of genius, as expected, but also a lot of dull moments. A short EP with "Flushing the Primary", "Aura" and "Rascal in Me" would've easily gotten 80-85 points from me. But unfortunately there are a lot of dull songs to be found as well. The very, very tame production (especially the guitars totally lack punch. Please use a real old amp next time) doesn't do the album much good.

I'm going to close with this, hoping that mr. Messner or mr. Klopf incidentally check up on MA: If Disharmonic ever want to make their be-all-end-all album which really emcompasses all that made Disharmonic unique and set them apart from the rest, it would be an album with riffs a la the Pleasuredome album but with drums going totally bezerk like they did on Expositionsprophylaxe and the split LP with Pungent Stench. Mix those two and you'll have a masterpiece. But that's just my two cents...

No Fear of Violating the Expectations - 82%

bayern, February 4th, 2018

The Austrian avant-gardists are on the road again, and the fanbase should brace themselves for another string of weird, outside-the-box releases that would be anything but what the audience would expect them to be. The band have never played by any written or unwritten rules, and they have always tried to carve a path for themselves on the volatile metal horizon which proved quite tolerant to their musical caprices…

cause these caprices have been throwing the guys around the metal spectre, delineating them further and further from their death metal roots, and right now one would hardly make the right guess as to what our “psychos” have cooked on the album reviewed here. Well, the truth is that in terms of originality this opus doesn’t go too far down the rabbit hole, but is by all means a relative eye-opener, if not for the whole metal fandom, at least for the band’s followers. And this may be the better option for them as this new showing isn’t scattered so much all over the place like it was the case with “Ahead”, neither is it too composed and unnervingly melancholic the way “Pleasuredome” was although the dark pessimistic aura of that opus can be tangibly felt at times.

So what do we have here? We have a varied product again which smells 90’s post-thrash at the beginning, one that is modelled after mid-period Prong, recalling the jumpy semi-technical histrionics of “Beg to Differ” on the cool lively title-track, including on the abrupt speedy accumulations. The levelled semi-hardcore/semi-declamatory vocals also remind of Tommy Victor quite a bit, becoming marginally more expressive on the strangely epic-sounding “Flushing the Primary” which spreads to nearly progressive proportions, also adding a nice sense of melody echoing moments from “Pleasuredome”. More deviations are in stall, though, first with the dramatic stomper “Innamorato”, and then with the short brisk thrash/crossover delight “Aura”, the latter a prime piece of old school metal fury.

“Proton Radius” comes to provide entertainment of an entirely different kind, a bumpy progressive ride with echoes of Treponem Pal and Prong again, a quirky technical number with surreal minimalistic twists and an even stranger speedy section in the second half, with the bass featured more prominently. The bass player remains the main performer on “The Venus Between Us”, an eclectic funky saga of the semi-balladic type rudely broken by a sudden sweeping brutal death metal stroke. “Rascal in Me” is a pounding doom-laden proposition with nice melodic tunes, and “Flambition” is another faster-paced revelation which contains a few more intricate semi-technical motifs including an officiant doomy mid-break, the latter ably translated on “Down to Earth” which is an impressive doom metal opus again bringing to mind moments from “Pleasuredome”.

The monolithic, steady sombre/brooding flair permeating the album holds everything together as there’s no awkwardness to be detected anywhere. The band continue their highly individualistic journey with no regards to trends, and in this train of thought one shouldn’t expect a faithful rendition of their early death metal-fixated efforts any time soon. Not that those were primal orthodox bashers in the first place; it’s just that the instilled morose doom-fixated mood in the band’s camp would hardly be a harbinger of brutal speedy atrocities. Although this album here is the guys’ least experimental, least original effort one should still give them credit for not willing to walk a well-trodden path as the one of retro metal that has been carved nowadays, and for trying to sound less conventional as much as this is possible in the new millennium’s musical environment.