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There's something awesome.. - 100%

enigmatech, November 21st, 2020
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Serious Entertainment

The fourth album (counting Return from Tomorrow) from Illdisposed came out in 1997 and it was called There's Something Rotten...in the State of Denmark and in many ways it completed the band's evolution, building upon sounds that were hinted at in 1995's Submit and helping the band define their own sound. While the band had previously done well as a proper knuckle-dragging death metal outfit up to this point - it wasn't until this record that they truly tested their metal (*wink wink*) and truly stood out from the pack. Put simply, many, many (many many many many) death metal bands before them tried (and almost universally failed) to accomplish what Illdisposed did here...that being, simplifying their sound, retaining the brutality but letting the grooves "bounce" more while also introducing Gothenburg-styled melodeath riffing - arguably a more "commercial" release that was mindful of modern trends. While many of their peer's attempts at this kind of thing resulted in career-killing atrocities like Swallow the Snake or Millennium Ride...Illdisposed came out on top with not only the defining album of their career, but one of the best Danish metal albums ever released not to bear the Mercyful Fate logo.

The main reason this album works so well is obvious...the riffs. While the band does indeed spent much of this album grooving like no tomorrow, the riffwork has remained intact and it never feels lazy, plodding or boring. Even something as simple as the head-bobbing opening riff to title track "There's Something Rotten...", has a dash of creativity to it that keeps it fresh and exciting. Or the verse riff to "We Lie In the Snow"...so simple but goddamn, it's fucking catchy! One of the heaviest riffs on the album has got to be the one that opens "Days on the Floor"...a fitting title as by the end you'll be beaten to a bloody heap on the floor. All that said, there are also a ton of incredibly powerful melodies on display, like the chorus to "Near the Gates" which pairs brilliantly with the chorus riff - or "Life: an Evaluation" which raises the pace and ups the At the Gates influence, with some really catchy gothenburg riffing. The songwriting is also top notch, everything is concise and to-the-point, well-fleshed out but never feeling overlong - allowing everything to feel fresh and exciting consistently, even if there's not quite as much variety in terms of pace as previous albums (no blast beats at all).

This album was the first one to feature Tore Mogensen on lead guitar, and his addition is also a huge part of what makes this album so special, offering tons of incredible, melodic leadwork to these songs which adds a new dimension to the Illdisposed sound. Drummer Rolf Rognvard-Hansen is also a huge part of this record...as mentioned earlier, he doesn't do any blast beats on here, but you won't miss them because his drumming really adds a sense of energy and excitement to the music, a great example being the final, outro riff in opener "Psychic Cyclus I-III", where his drum beat provides the absolute perfect counterpoint to the riff - resulting in one of the best neck-snapping outros since Obituary's "The End Complete".

Bo Summer is also in top form, thankfully he doesn't water down his style into a bland "shout" and does the whole record with full-power, though clean vocals are implemented in parts of "Pimp" (as with on Submit, no one else is credited for them so I assume they're done by Summer himself). He sounds absolutely vicious on here, easily giving his best vocal performance yet - solidifying him as one of the best death vocalists in the entire scene. Lyrically, the emphasis is more on political/society problems, along with personal issues like drug addiction ("We Lie in the Snow") and depression (" Life: an Evaluation"), all with the band's signature style of snarky, bizarre humor. And speaking of humor...album closer "Horsens Highway" is...er, something else, for sure!

All in all, this album is a genuine classic and essential listening for people who don't mind the more melodic side of death metal. It's the best album Illdisposed will ever release and even today, stands tall as one of the best albums their country has ever produced...check it the fuck out!