Disbelief

Spreading the Rage

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Death metal veterans Disbelief have had a tough time making headway in a country -- Germany -- where melodic power metal reigns supreme. Had they been from Sweden, where the opposite status quo exists, who knows where they would be by the release of Spreading the Rage, their fifth album. But Disbelief doesn't play your run-of-the-mill death metal either -- almost, but not quite. No, although reliably enraged in their delivery, memorable offerings such as "Ethic Instinct," "Addiction," and the title track are all performed at about half the normal speed of most death metal out there. And yet they're also a good bit faster than the lumbering shuffle common to the doom/death sub-genre. Call it a tenuous and unorthodox compromise, but it's one that allows for an abundance of textured guitar harmonies to be stacked, layer upon layer, into densely melodic numbers like "No More Lies" and "Inside My Head." Their cover of Killing Joke's "Democracy" comes off neither here nor there, but by the time Disbelief get a headwind in their sails, it's hard to resist the pounding insistence of additional highlights "To the Sky" and "For Those Who Dare." The only problematic question that persists is therefore: will most death-loving listeners have the patience to hang around this long? If not, more is the pity, since this more measured approach winds up being Disbelief's most distinctive and appealing quality.

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