Artist: Disarmonia Mundi
Album Title: Cold Inferno
Label: Coroner Records
Year Of Release: 2015
As I have written ad infinitum within other posts on this very blog, I vividly remember the first time that I was introduced to melodic death metal. It was In Flames’ ‘The Jester Race’, one of the early pioneers of the Swedish ‘Gothenburg sound’ movement, and immediately I fell in love. Here was a style of music that blew my mind thanks to the simple yet ingenious blend of death metal brutality with choruses and melodic refrains that were lifted straight of the traditional, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal rulebook. I never looked back and I used this genre as an important stepping stone into the more extreme and heavy recesses of metal’s underground. That said, I have remained a fan of the genre and, whilst it’s fair to say that it has been tested by an influx of copycats, sub-par output and a subtle re-invention and change of sound by a few of the bigger guns in the genre, melodeath has survived and still produces some real gems from time to time.
Why am I saying all this? The answer is simple. What I essentially like most about Disarmonia Mundi is the approach and delivery which immediately transports me back to those halcyon days of melodic death metal. It is like Disarmonia Mundi and I agree on when the genre was at its strongest and then revel in creating music that echoes this. It might not make for the most original of output and it is unlikely to win any awards in the process; indeed, it may even be in danger of being widely overlooked. But if you are like me and consider the mid-late 90s into the early 2000s to be the purple period for melodic death metal, particularly if it emanated from Sweden, I’m certain that you’ll like this record.
Despite their obvious influences and overt Scandinavian sound, Disarmonia Mundi are based some 894 miles south of Gothenburg, in Turin, Italy. I use the word ‘they’, but to be more accurate, I should refer to Disarmonia Mundi as a ‘duo’, given that a number of line-up issues over the years has meant that Disarmonia Mundi now merely comprise the talented multi-instrumentalist, Ettore Rigotti, with the assistance of vocalist Claudio Ravinale. Nevertheless, Disarmonia Mundi has been in existence since 2000, releasing their debut ‘Nebularium’ a year later. It wasn’t until 2004 though, and the release of their storming sophomore effort ‘Fragments of D-Generation’ that I became aware of them. Featuring Soilwork’s Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid on guest vocals, it contained some quality pieces of music, several of which remain favourites with me to this day. Unfortunately, subsequent albums failed to hit the same heights and so, when I heard that album number five, ‘Cold Inferno’ was about to be released, I wasn’t sure whether or not to bother. A good friend suggested I should and I listened to him.
I’m glad that I did too, because ‘Cold Inferno’ is a real return to form, re-visiting a lot of the strengths of the debut and, in fact, playing to the strengths of Disarmonia Mundi in general. The fact that Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid makes another significant guest appearance throughout the record helps to underline that the Italians are doing something right.
First off, the album is aggressive, fast-paced and energetic; there’s little let up for the entirety of the record and this is definitely part of the charm. After an apocalyptic, cinematic beginning, opener ‘Creation Dirge’ delivers a high-octane listening experience dominated by a powerful rhythm section, great riffing and a clean-sung chorus that’s immediate and enjoyable.
The tone has been set and the remainder of the album follows suit. If the opener called to mind mid-era Soilwork, ‘Stormghost’ is almost pure In Flames worship, albeit with an immensely powerful chorus that reminds me, in something of a modern twist, more of Killswitch Engage than anything else, particularly in terms of the vocal delivery. The stand-out track for me is the delectable ‘Coffin’ with its quasi-ballad feel and huge hooks. However, the rampant Soilwork-isms of ‘Behind Closed Doors’, the anthemic feel of ‘Magma Diver’ and the slightly more subtle ‘Toys Of Acceleration’ are worth the entry fee too.
In fact, there are very few any weak tracks on the album per se, and the really positive thing about ‘Cold Inferno’ is that, from start to finish, you can feel the love, the care and the attention that Rigotti has lavished on the material. Yes it might sound like the bastard love-child of In Flames and Soilwork et al, but crucially, the tracks themselves are engaging, effervescent and full of life. Listening to ‘Cold Inferno’ doesn’t frustrate in the way that many albums of this ilk can; instead it is a rather joyous, strangely uplifting and almost nostalgic experience, albeit with a smattering of modernity for good measure. The bottom line is if you want to listen to some serious heavy metal that will make you smile, Disarmonia Mundi is definitely for you.
The Score Of Much Metal: 8.0
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