Illdisposed - With The Lost Souls On Our Side (Massacre Records)

Another offering from Danish death metal stalwarts Illdisposed.
Release Date: 
27 Jun 2014 (All day)

Illdisposed’s 13th album, With The Lost Souls On Our Side, is both a testament to this band’s mastery of their craft and a confirmation that Illdisposed fans need not worry about the direction Illdisposed is going in. They never have to be concerned that Illdisposed are going to release a laid back reggae album instead of another slab of excellent death metal with a melodic strain coursing through the music. With The Lost Souls On Our Side is both a serious contender when it comes to classic status, and represents a real progression for Illdisposed. This album deserves to break Illdisposed to a larger audience. If you, dear reader, are an avid death metal fan and are not familiar with this band, you are seriously missing out on some the best contemporary European death metal out there.

The album begins with an accelerated buildup on opening track Going Down. An insistent drum beat with the occasional use of double kick drums gets the heart going, before vocalist Bo Summer officiates proceedings with a guttural ‘Ugh!’ Two features immediately grip the listener - the absolutely monstrous guitar tone that sounds exactly right for a death metal album, and the standout drumming from Kim Langkjaer Jensen, who could well be the Danish version of Gene Hoglan. Being a relatively new member of Illdisposed has not prevented Jensen from both integrating perfectly with the band while maintaining a distinct personality. The Way We Choose will have you breaking out your air guitar to brush up on your skills, at times slowing down to Autopsy level speeds. Light In The Dark, with its heavy use of an opening flanger effect giving the impression that the listener is being sucked into hyperspace, sets an ethereal mood that brilliantly contrasts with the brutality that follows. A short melodic solo around the final minute mark makes a fine impression, and is followed by a variety of interesting drumming patterns.

I Am What I Am presents innumerable sing along (or grunt along) moments sure to rile up crowds across the globe, and has the best guitar crunch of any song on the album. The repetition of certain riffs, far from making the song boring, make you long for the moment they come back around so you can launch yourself into well timed headbanging nirvana. A Dreaded Pursuer has a prologue that forms an image in one’s mind of distant pumping machines which are distorted and malfunctioning. That could have come straight off a Ministry album, but before listeners can get a chance to really appreciate the sonic textures, they are thrown straight back into a circle pit. The menacing bass forms the bones of this song, and from this solid foundation comes several of the best solos on the album from guitarists Jakob Batten and and Ken Holst.

On a Clouded Morning demonstrates the variety of Bo Summer’s vocals, where his gut wrenching yet largely comprehensible vocals are double tracked with a black metal screech, though of a low pitched sort. Blast beats and double bass drumming are locked in with the prominent bass of Kussen to provide a death metal groove which the entire band locks into. On both this and the previous song, there is a evident New Wave of British Heavy Metal influence on the soloing. The album closes out nicely on The Plan, and if you happen to pick up the digipack version of the album, you will be rewarded with two bonus tracks. The first, Life Equals Zero, is largely forgettable, but the second, Reversed, demonstrates some truly inspired vocals on the part of Bo Summer.

The high quality production of With The Lost Souls On Our Side gives it a clean and crisp quality, in line with more modern metal releases. Critically evaluating this album, the only significant flaw preventing it from being an outright modern classic is that some of the songs sound much too similar to one another, and thus become overly repetitive with numerous listens. Whereas a classic Darkthrone album like Under A Funeral Moon suits a morbid trudge through a frostbitten forest, Illdisposed’s latest album appeals more on the level of moshing and circle pitting with fellow metalheads just in front of the gates of hell. Close enough to enjoy the warmth of the flames, but not so close as to be burnt by them. And that, it seems, is exactly where Illdisposed want to be.