Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Insidious Disease - Shadowcast (2010)

There are super-groups and then there are super-groups, and this Norwegian project Insidious Disease may very well fall into the latter category, if we are taking into account the collective experience of its membership. This is a collaboration between vocalist Marc Grewe (of Comecon and German death cult Morgoth), bassist Shane Embury (Napalm Death, Brujeria, Lock Up, and many more), drummer Tony Laureano (who has played with basically every successful, extreme band ever in need of a drummer, Nile and Angelcorpse among them), Erkekjetter Silenoz of Dimmu Borgir and Jardar of Old Man's Child on the guitars. One could rightfully ask themselves what has brought this rogues' gallery of Parental Enemy No. 1's together in a single place. Haven't these not so gentle men already covered everything in their vast careers?

Insidious Disease is interesting because its honestly a culmination of many of its members former or current ongoing projects, a jugger-beast of massive proportions, rooted largely in pure death metal, but with an increased injection of black and thrash metal aesthetics, and perhaps a little grind as well. Vocally Grewe does not evoke the commonplace grunt or growl of the death genre, instead infusing his Morgoth frontal force with an almost hardcore edge of anger, like a street ready wakeup blend of Lars-Goran Petrov, Chris Reifert and Chuck Schuldiner (which arguably, he always sounded like). The riffs here are so many sledgehammer pistons of blunt force, though the band is not above a melodic segue where courtesy demands it. The album's sheer strength is both its strength and weakness, for while it sounds intense, it occasionally stifles itself with less interesting, burdensome riffing.

Laureano's a beast as usual, which you can hear immediately in the scorching opener "Nuclear Salvation", which pummels the face like a giant mutant's boot repeatedly, leads exploding off through the course of destruction and Grewe's pissed off attitude. A lot of the tracks are huge and fast, such as "Abortion Stew" (with a minor Pestilence influence in the octave riffing) and the storming black/death monstrosity "The Desire". Some, however, aim for a more grooving, thrashed picking sequence with some concrete breakdowns, like "Ritual of Bloodshed", "Boundless" and the bouncing "Value in Flesh". Rarely does the album expunge into some truly monolithic riff, but the production is so punishing and steadfast that you'll still find yourself straining your neck to the majority of the play length.

Add a reasonable cover of Death's classic "Leprosy", and you've got yourself a marginally successful super-group debut. If you're a fan of old Entombed, Morgoth, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Comecon, Pestilence, Death and Malevolent Creation, with a slightly blacker heart, then this is a feasible reproduction of many of those traits which should at least aurally stimulate the angry masses. The band was formed years ago, so its obvious they took their time getting this to us, aiming for maximum impact. The one true flaw is that the material simply leaves my presence once I have pressed 'stop', and there is not even one song here I feel the instant urge to gaze back upon. But when pincered in its head fisting embrace, as on the blasting epitaph of "Conceived Through Hate", you can't help but feel ready for a fight.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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