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stop doing this, disease - 40%

Noktorn, December 28th, 2011

The tiny, underrecognized Canadian province of Newfoundland is hardly bustling with metal activity; most of the bands coming from the region tend to be little demo-level things that rarely achieve greater recognition. Perhaps the only true exceptions to this rule are the triumvirate of projects spearheaded by Disease: Bound in Human Flesh, Coffin Birth, and Obscene Eulogy. Listening to all of them back to back, the similarities are very obvious; after hearing one, it's difficult to ignore the race of programmed drums or peculiar style of riffcraft the man has cultivated since the early '00s. Coffin Birth, as the latest established of the three projects, is in my estimation probably the best realization of Disease's custom style; rather than fighting against his natural instrumental inclinations, they dovetail with them and create something that, while not especially gripping or artistically revelatory, is a fun and enthusiastic take on melodic black/thrash that most metalheads would appreciate. Bound in Human Flesh, on the other hand, was something of a dud, and Obscene Eulogy, the oldest of the three, falls somewhere in the middle- at least on the sole full-length that follows this demo. "A Portal Into Fire," on the other hand- well, it just doesn't do it for me.

The prevailing element in all of Disease's projects is The Bounce- a sort of energetic, punk-infused rhythmic delivery that makes for fast, varied, guitar-centric songs with a lot going on- as long as what's going on isn't designed to be particularly malignant or ominous. Obscene Eulogy is the most overtly black metal of the three projects, and despite its gloomy, antagonistic aesthetic and Hell's Headbangers-nodding moniker, it's still not safe from The Bounce. After the rather melodramatically titled and composed intro "Rivers of Blood in the Wind of Horror," the creepy keys and gothic ornamentation are promptly dropped for something that sounds a lot more like late-period Impaled Nazarene than Demoncy. Occasional symphonic backing in the form of some synthestra strings pops up here and there to provide some hopefully cryptic atmosphere, but with all of Disease's projects, it tends to come off as more "Spooky Halloween Sound Effects" than genuinely threatening. The music they run over doesn't particularly help, with its nods to "Midian"-era Cradle of Filth in its thrashy rhythms and overtly silly melodic sense. The clicky, overdriven drum machine and similarly ranting vocals don't do much to convey intensity either; they feel sort of artificial and simply there because it's expected.

Disease is at his best when he openly embraces the rather energetic, youthful nature of his compositional style, which isn't really what happens on "A Portal Into Fire." It's an attempt at making grim, blasting, Marduk-style black metal (with Dimmu Borgir keys, natch) somehow composed of enthusiastic, punky rhythms, and it simply doesn't play well. It's like watching a bunch of eight year olds attempting to tell each other scary stories; no matter how well they might tell them, the kids' ideas of "a blood monster made of blood who eats your blood" aren't really going to resonate with a more experienced audience. Skip this one and pick up the following full-length if you feel you desperately need some Obscene Eulogy in your life; otherwise, stick with Coffin Birth.