Illdisposed – There’s Something Rotten In The State Of Denmark

This is another album that I got for $6 that’s one of the best $6 I’ve ever spent in my life.  ‘There’s Something Rotten In The State Of Denmark’ is easily in the top five melodic death metal albums I’ve ever heard, because, like with most melodic death metal worth listening to, it never forgets the last two words in the genre descriptor: ‘DEATH METAL’.  Illdisposed is the Gothenburg antidote.  ‘There’s Something Rotten In The State Of Denmark’ is forty minutes of chugging and grooving and melody-ing riffs plus a bunch of fantastically ’80s solos and if you don’t like it you’re stupid.

Admittedly, this is essentially Pantera playing melodic death metal.  I don’t consider that a bad thing, but a lot of people will, and those people are gay.  There’s a definite emphasis on attitude being used to cover up the more mediocre songwriting moments, but unlike most other bands, it actually works here.  One of the important elements to this is vocalist Bo Summer, who has that delightfully silly and seemingly joking growl that a lot of Danish death metal bands have.  Every word (of the alternatingly brilliant and completely retarded lyrics) is spewed with the most bombastic and sneering mid-range growl ever, like every stanza is coming between shots of whiskey and random-person-punching.  The guitars carry the rest, and they have precisely two types of riffs: chug/groove ones, and melodic ones.  They’re both great.  ‘Psychic Cyclus I-III’ is impossible not to love on the strength of its stupid groove riffs alone, and combined with the vocals, it just gets that much more ridiculous and delightful.  Yes, delightful.

‘Near The Gates’ has what is officially the best melodic death metal riff of all time opening it up, rivaled only by the infamous main riff on Vehemence’s ‘We Are All Dying’ when it comes to melodeath perfection.  Actually, the whole song might be the best melodic death metal song ever made.  Every note of it is pretty much perfect.  The groove riffs are brilliant, the melodic riffs are brilliant, and the solos (more on those later) are brilliant also.  So those two opening tracks wreck the opening two tracks of just about any other album ever made.  Granted, the rest of the album isn’t nearly as good, so as a result I often end up just listening to the first two on loop for nine hours while clutching a revolver and weeping.  That being said, the rest of the songs are still painfully good, they just don’t make me want to masturbate out of pure metal joy like the first two do.

So there are solos, a LOT of solos, generally about two per song, and they’re really good ones as well.  They’re uniformly ultra-melodic (no Kerry King scribbling) and totally ’80s.  I’m not a particularly solo-focused person myself, but even I have to admit that they’re pretty damned great here, particularly when accentuating the groove-oriented nature of the rest of the album.  When you get down to it, all the riffing is super predictable, with mercilessly overused chord progressions that you’ve heard in every melodeath song ever, but they’re just SO DAMNED GOOD that you can’t help but love them.  On another note, the lyrics are borderline incoherent with a lot of cool stanzas which have no relation to each other at all.  But then again, it just adds to the attitude, as if the entire band just walked into a bar without pants and you’re afraid to point it out because you’ll be struck repeatedly.

‘There’s Something Rotten In The State Of Denmark’ is an essentially endless progression of awesome riffs and awesome solos and awesome vocals and awesome lyrics coming together to make awesome songs.  I personally don’t understand how someone could actually not like this album unless Enbilulugugal is the most accessible thing they’ll allow themselves to listen to.  Even when it sucks, it rules.  This album will be played in its entirety at my funeral, not because it has the appropriate themes or sound, but because I hope my death is as awesome as this album is.


~ by noktorn on January 30, 2008.

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