|Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal
June 27th, 2014
Release length: 52:27
Right away it’s obvious Illdisposed hasn’t gone far from their signature mixture of melodies and groove driven performances. “Tugging at Your Heart” finds its share of strong hooks and additional speed in the main verses and chorus with a few raspy screams in the background that compliment the growling quite well. This greatly dwarfs the desolate minute plus introduction and quicker paced screwing around of “The Way We Choose,” though that bit doesn’t exactly damage this one. When things finally get into gear you are met with a flurry of blast beat driven intensity and hard hitting grooves, both of which loaded with some simple melodies in the leads to push in a bit of recognizable Swedish Death Metal to the riffs. “To Be Dealt With” has a nice little subtle Gothenburg touch most of the time that brings a little more emotion to some of the passages, not to mention a laid back quality to the lead verses. The guitar solo, however, is surprisingly grand and more powerful than anything else on the album, all before exploding into a hostile conclusion that throws all of that away, ending with more of a slam that works well enough for what it is.
While there are some infectious grooves to be found, there’s also plenty of straight-forward slabs of Death Metal to go around. “I Am What I Am” spends most of the time churning out some slower material that packs enough of a punch to make you bob your head along obediently. While it isn’t the most punishing performance right off the bat, around half way in the song slowly builds to a short lived brutal surge of Grindcore similar to Napalm Death. “On a Clouded Morning” finds that same blistering attitude in the chorus like what Exhumed did with “Coins Upon the Eyes.”
While most of With the Lost Souls on Our Side is a good album, it’s not one of their most engaging. One of the reasons has to do with the vocals sounding rather hollow. Even some of the layering doesn’t really work out well enough to give some additional bite. “Going Down” introduces this right away despite establishing the rich guitars and tight drumming common to the group’s sound. There’s some subtle hooks that appear more in the bridges than anywhere, especially the start and the finish, creating more of a commanding atmosphere that demands you follow or be left behind. Then there’s “Light in the Dark” which is one of the few it doesn’t occur on, not to mention the album’s strongest cut. The mid-tempo bass-driven groove presents a bit of an ominous atmosphere that nicely matches the pounding drums that erupt from time to time. There are some hooks thrown in, but the best is the depressing leads of the chorus, as well as the solo that hits in the second one that nicely builds on it.
If you happen to get the digipack version, you will get two additional re-recordings of material from the 1992 album Four Depressive Seasons. “Life Equals Zero” has a nice groove to the guitars that make it hard not to move your head along obediently to before some vile, aggressive Swedish-soaked riffs introduce the many changes throughout the performance up to and including a depressing guitar solo. “Reversed,” however, is a much tighter cut in comparison chock full of rich hooks that usher in a sense of glory to match the group’s rougher vocal style. Even the guitar solo comes through a little more glorious in comparison. Of course neither really overtake the original cuts, in fact “Life Equals Zero” could have been handled a lot better, but it’s definitely nice to hear these classics again in a new light, as long as they stay bonus tracks and not as a hint towards re-recording the whole album as an anniversary celebration
Illdisposed doesn’t exactly unleash some of their most addicting material on With the Lost Souls on Our Side sadly. Aside a few hard hitting tracks with either some sweet hooks, addictive grooves, or a combination of the two, much of the effort is ends up a bit subpar for the group. This seems to be due to what little life the crisp audio seems to let the performances have by dulling down the distortions of the guitars a bit and making the vocals sound rather hollow. There is an attempt to make up for these issues in the tight, well paced and varied performances. Fans of the band aren’t getting another There’s Something Rotten in the State of Denmark or 1-800 Vindication, but With the Lost Souls on Our Side isn’t going to really disappoint the listener. Even at the least you’ll find a nice handful of tracks you’ll come back to or throw into your favorite playlist dedicated to Illdisposed or otherwise. Of course if you can find the digipack at a decent price the additional tracks are a nice touch but, even then, this one is best left sampling first or waiting for a sale before splurging on either version.
01. Going Down – 3:33
02. The Way We Choose – 4:40
03. Light in the Dark – 4:23
04. I Am What I am – 4:40
05. Tugging at Your Heart – 4:08
06. A Dreaded Pursuer – 4:35
07. On a Clouded Morning – 4:21
08. No More Devil to Show – 3:49
09. The Plan – 5:06
Digipack Bonus Tracks:
|Initial Pressing Score: 6/10
Digipack Edition Score: 6.5/10