Illdisposed – In Chambers of Sonic Disgust Review | Angry Metal Guy

Illdisposed – In Chambers of Sonic Disgust Review | Angry Metal Guy

Since forming way back in 1991, Danish stalwarts Illdisposed have stood the test of time, still banging out albums some thirty-three years active in the scene. Playing an accessible style of chunky, groove-based death, marked with an accessible streak and a heaping supply of melody, Illdisposed possess solid instrumental chops, and at their best, an ability to combine chugging heaviness with addictive songcraft and headbangable grooves. Results may vary across their lengthy career, admittedly I missed 2019’s Reveal Your Soul to be Dead, but these weathered vets have cranked out some solidly respectable output. 1-800 Vindication was a really cool album back in the day, and part of a surging mid-career purple patch. However, with the dreaded Law of Diminishing Returns threatening to derail their twilight years, can Illdisposed channel their glory days on their fifteenth LP In Chambers of Sonic Disgust, or will this go down as another also-ran release in the stacked metallic landscape of 2024?

In Chambers of Sonic Disgust does not aim to reinvent the wheel or drift from the band’s well-worn formula, with the foundations of the modern Illdisposed sound melded in concrete. Long-time listeners may perhaps find comfort in what the lads have cooked up, though inevitably at this point in the band’s marathon, at times inconsistent career, mileage will vary. “Spitting Your Pain” kicks proceedings off with a solid bang, as chunky, hooky riffs and gruff vocals drive the song’s groovy, anthemic swagger. It’s fairly standard Illdisposed fare, but well executed and catchy enough to sustain interest. While not overly technical, the musicianship is tight and the experienced hands execute well, always keeping their groove-centric riffing and mid-paced bluster front and center. Likewise, the material is easy on the ear, in part due to an impressively dynamic master, inoffensively accessible streak, and bright melodicism bolstered by atmospheric synths.

Perhaps running low on song titles, “The Ill-Disposed” combines a menacing rumble with thundering double bass work, unleashing a straightforward, yet catchy anthem. In Chambers of Sonic Disgust offers typical Illdisposed energy and exuberance, however, the songwriting fluctuates from solid, moderately enjoyable hit-outs to material that’s stock, sometimes bland, and only fleetingly memorable. “For Us” offers glimmers of inspiration, its livelier, more dynamic arrangement spiking the usual mid-paced grooves with impactful riffing, thrashy undertones, and scorching solos. Amidst a handful of forgettable tunes, the album ends on a loftier note courtesy of closing duo “All Electric” and “Pain Suffer Me.” The former shoehorns orchestral elements and grand melodies to solid effect, while the latter channels some At the Gates-esque Gothenburg vibes, leaning into their thrashier, melodeath influences and jacking up the speed factor, an element sorely missing on the album.

Performances are solid and workmanlike, playing to the band’s riff and groove-heavy strengths, however, the lack of compelling material and lasting hooks creates an issue regarding staying power. Elsewhere, the songwriting would benefit from increased bursts of speed and urgency to break the predominantly mid-paced attack and formulaic trappings. Despite the aforementioned dynamic master and generally appealing sonic platform, the mix has some problematic and distracting elements. Although a reliably serviceable vocalist throughout their career, Bo Summer’s trademark gruff growls are distractingly pushed too far forward in the mix. Coupled with a lack of variety, the vocal performance occasionally grates and takes punch away from the guitars, which could stand to be meatier and more authoritative. In the end, the eleven tunes spread across the album’s shade under 45 minutes duration offer a mixed bag of entertainment, too often swaying towards the safe and bland end of the Illdisposed songwriting repertoire, leaving little more than empty calories when all is said and done.

Props to Illdisposed to continuing to fight the good fight after decades plying their trade in the metal underground. In Chambers of Sonic Disgust is by no means a bad album, nor is it the kind of later career album to demand attention or recall their glory days. The writing just isn’t quite up to snuff across the runtime to really hook the listener in and engage deeper interest. Aside from a handful of stronger cuts, In Chambers of Sonic Disgust lacks consistency and edge, while the vocal heavy mix grinds the gears, resulting in a serviceable, but ultimately forgettable experience.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 24th, 2024