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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...