Nary in need of a prolonged break, Denmark’s ILLDISPOSED are back with their fifth full-length album in the past seven years, 2012’s “Sense the Darkness,” a righteously heavy return that hears the band relinquishing the usage of synths found on their last record, “There is Light (But It’s Not for Me),” and bolstering the overall groove and Death Metal attitude they helped patent since 1991.
“Sense the Darkness” is about as agreeable and straight-forward as a Death Metal album as you’re likely to find in 2012. It’s not hyper-technical, crammed with progressive touches, or concentrated on some sweeping tale of romance and warfare. The album, for all intents and purposes, is Death Metal done with a clear understanding of how not to sound overbearing in its musicianship, or pretentious in its soundscape.
Replete with huge melodies, thunderous drumming, and a ferocious demeanor, the album sounds akin to the Gothenburg sound, but ratcheted up with weight belts and an oak cabinet loaded with powdered weight gain. Vocalist and lone founding member Bo Summer’s beloved bulldog roars are back and lacking zero punch, culling from his mouth with sheer barbarism while his knack for contagious choruses is wildly evident with awesome refrains in tracks like “Time to Dominate” and “Stop Running,” a pair of songs that have a ploddingly incensed vibe (thank you drummer Thomas Jensen) one might correlate with Hardcore. This is, however, not to say that what one will find on “Sense the Darkness” is Hardcore, Metalcore, or any of its various substrates; the album is very much entrenched and comfortable in its Death Metal cargo shorts, lithely chumming alongside like-sounding acts like GOREFEST, DYING FETUS, MISERY INDEX, or FACEBREAKER, with the first and last examples being most similar in tempo.
Interestingly, while detractors may sight the lack of diversity on “Sense the Darkness,” listeners should find little problem distinguishing the 11 tracks. To name just a few, “Eyes Popping Out” has a preposterously catchy guitar riff, the opening to “Another Kingdom Dead” is a head-banger’s delight, and “Too Blind to See” is probably the thrashiest track on the album. From top-to-bottom, “Sense the Darkness” wields the calloused grip of a Death Metal album, but it’s propensity for groove and accessibility likewise lends it a striking Rock ‘n’ Roll approach. Never short on heaviness or melody, ILLDISPOSED's latest is a guaranteed good time.
(Online October 2, 2012)