Illdisposed - There Is Light (but It Is Not For Me)
Well, where have I been? Denmark's Illdisposed have been, unbeknownst to me, kicking around the scene for close to 20 years now. There Is A Light (But It Is Not For Me) is their 11th (!) full-length studio offering to date and, if my ears don't lie, it certainly shows in the chemistry and proficiency of the record as a whole. With an industrial death/metalcore sound that lies somewhere between Ministry, Soilwork, Rammstein and I'm sure a host of others that escape me, Illdisposed certainly should present a broad appeal to the newcomers. Without having any analogue of comparison, There Is Light must stand on it's own merits here.
It certainly makes an attempt at it, with burning, bruising tracks like "Your Own Best Companion" and "Heaven Forbid" setting an immediate tone. Utilizing synths in this blend of industrial death is done as an accompaniment rather than a focal point, flourishing the sound with punctuations and atmosphere. "Our Words Betrayed" is an excellently written early album highlight, maintaining a high tempo without sacrificing the impact of a strong melody. Worth noting is the crisp production value that favors the vocals and guitars, but sort of leaves the percussion lingering in the rear. The aforementioned vocals are a somewhat monotonous combination of gutteral growling and high-pitched shrieks that are mostly unintelligable and ultimately fall short of standing out. While they fit the music rather well, there's nothing extraordinary to them. And that's fine, but what truly hurts the album is the lack of standout tracks. A little bit of innovation to the core sound pops up in tracks like "Rape" and "We" but ultimately the songs merge together in one extended piece of aggression.
And whether or not that appeals to you will depend on whether or not you mind the lack of variety. There Is Light is excellent for what it is, a crushing slab of hate-fueled industrial death metal that pays more attention to the melodic Gothenburg sound than it does the more traditional death metal style. The production is crystal clear, with a modern polish that may also scare some off. Overpolished indeed. So all of this leaves me leaning towards a middle-of-the-road score for the album, despite there not being much wrong with it at it's core. More a personal statement than one I imagine many will agree with me on, Illdisposed may find it' place in many a metal fan's heart. And maybe an older album or two would change my perspective but, as it is, I couldn't quite connect to There Is Light.
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