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A sadly forgotten classic EP - 95%

enigmatech, November 21st, 2020
Written based on this version: 1994, CD, Nuclear Blast America (Second reissue)

Return from Tomorrow is the sophomore album from Illdisposed...though an EP (or perhaps "mini-LP") I personally consider it an album because my version has 7 tracks, totalling at 27 mins, exclusive to this release...perhaps not full album length but damn it, close enough! Anyway, the other reason is because it's a fucking masterpiece, and one of the best things Illdisposed have ever released in their long and storied career of groovy death metal art.

Simply put, Return from Tomorrow is the heaviest thing to ever bear the Illdisposed logo. This thing is fucking vicious, a nonstop onslaught of brutal riffing that leaves nothing in it's path...the faster moments are far more driving, often bearing a slight punk edge and thus leaning closer to the likes of Benediction or Pungent Stench - even bordering on grindcore at times (the 30-second blastfest that is "Impact"), and the slower moments are absolutely devastating - the riffs are just bonecrushing. Just listen to the buildup to that last breakdown in "Of Death and Dying" and say you're not in pieces on the fucking floor...shame it fades out so quick, by hey - what are you gonna do? Part of the reason this album is so much heavier could be the addition of new lead guitarist Morten Gilsted, who (according to the band) took over a lot of the songwriting during his time in the band.

This was also Bo Summer's first attempt at the famous "subwoofer" effect that later became his staple, and it really adds a new dynamic to the band's sound - making him sound even more deranged and inhuman. In addition, he also introduces high-ranged growls obviously inspired from the king of death metal, John Tardy...what more do I need to say? Lyrically, this album moves away from the Satanism and occult themes on the debut, and instead focuses on atheistic themes, questioning religion itself. Though the same poetic element remains from the debut, the result is a lot darker and more cynical - it's worth noting that this is the only Illdisposed album (that I've heard) without a trace of the band's trademark humor in any of the music, lyrics or liner notes at all.

Just because this album is so heavy, doesn't mean it's simple-minded, though. The songwriting is tighter and more well-rounded than the debut, which helps the songs "flow" in a way that's consistently satisfying. Though still on the longer end of the spectrum (5 of the 7 tracks are in the 4-5 min range) things feel more mature and well-sorted out and it never feels overlong or boring. There's also a touch of melody in the guitars here and there (most notably on "Withering Teardrops"), some piano in the outro, and even some female vocals in a couple tracks - a surprising, and very welcome touch of variety for this album.

This album is unfortunately a bit harder to find than most of the other Illdisposed albums, but if you're able to - don't hestitate to snatch it up. Definitely look out for the US version which, as mentioned earlier, has three additional tracks and makes this release feel like an overall "fuller" package.