1. 66 2. Sick 3. Floating On High 4. For God? 5. Continue (From This Point) 6. Crawl 7. Rewind It All (Death Or Glory) 8. Lost In Time 9. Try 10. Edges 11. Mental Signpost 12. To Atone For All
With this new batch of death metal superstars, the aggressive plane of existence seems to be a rather blissful place. I've never been a huge fan of the doom and gloom side of the metal spectrum, but with winning titles from the likes of Hate Eternal, Hatesphere, Malstrom, Bloodbath, and the furious Construcdead, this meat market seems to be moving into a more talented and finely tuned crop of new sensations. It really couldn't come at a better time, with genre defining staples like Gorefest, Benediction, Sinister, and Hypocrisy just simply going through the motions or simply staying at home. Now overlooked bands like Disbelief and Susperia are stepping up in a big way, delivering some much needed death metal might to this over-populated and rather stale genre.
With their 2004 record "Spreading The Rage", Germany's Disbelief finally got the recognition that they deserved. After five releases over the course of six years, the band sought after and found that important audience, a group of fans and media followers that would understand exactly what the band is, what their goals are, and most importantly just what type of soundscape they define. Now the band are back with that important follow-up, an album that will probably reach more folks within the metal community than the prior five records. "66Sick" marks the band's first effort for new label Nuclear Blast, who at this point is probably the best choice of label for the band. Nuclear Blast do the first step justice, giving Disbelief it's finest production job courtesy of Tue Madsen, known for his work with Mnemic and The Haunted. Along with the change in label and production comes a slightly slower pace. With the act's previous records, Holy Moses guitarist Andy Classen has been on board, a famed player who probably had more of a high speed influence on the band's output. Now the group have reached some calmer shores, still keeping a fast approach to the material but for the most part becoming that strange death metal hybrid of today's interesting metal landscape.
In all honesty I grew up with a certain death metal appeal to my collection buying. I've always been a faithful follower of that early death sound. Bands like Tiamat, Cemetary, Amorphis, Sentenced, and Edge Of Sanity filled my playlists through the early to mid 90s. I really miss that sound, with most of those bands simply changing with the times. You can look at groups like Paradise Lost and Tiamat to see the big change, how time and trends have changed those innovative ideas and designs. Just like everything else, it is an ever changing world. But that is where a band like Disbelief comes along, a group that has those same intentions, the ability to see the spooky smoke in the distance, and to add that vision into a world of fright filled heavy metal. That is where you will find "66Sick", a rather captivating death metal listen that journeys through those dark woods with a rather patient stride. While you will certainly find material here that is fast and aggressive ("Sick","For God"), it is the slower paced moody pieces that really set Disbelief out from the rest of the pack.
Tracks like "Continue From This Point", "Lost In Time", and "To Atone For All" build on a cold, sadistic foundation set in place years ago by the likes of Candlemass and Celtic Frost. While they keep those roots close to their sound, these Germans also reach into that 90s closet, grasping and clutching a sound made famous by early Cemetary, Tiamat, and even Paradise Lost. Tommy Fritsch and Olly Lenz fire up their gear with the most calculated riffs, really exploring dreary world after dreary world with the finest of doom study. Vocalist Karsten Jager really soaks up that moody atmosphere, at times really reminding me of Tiamat's voice Johan Edlund.
For fans of the more aggressive affair, this may not be the album to fit that particular mood or perspective. For those of you looking at the colder side of writing and style, then this is obviously going to be an important record. It seems to capture the darkest of elements, a sinister feeling of all things lost and abandoned. Disbelief are on the right track here, really creating their finest work to date. Hopefully now that the band have aligned themselves with one of the largest metal labels in the world, the rewards will start to come. With this much talent and diversity, the smoke on the wind is just a beacon, an easy to find spot where the music and the madness become one. "66Sick" is the perfect meeting place.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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