Sound — 8
Disarmonia Mundi is an Italian band made up of members of some relatively well-known and also unknown melodic death metal acts, and as such Disarmonia is a melodeath band first and foremost. The frontman behind this is producer Ettore Rigotti who started DisMundi. At the moment, the band has gone through several line up changes, but it now consists of just two members, Ettore, as mentioned, and Claudio Ravinale with most of the music making credit going to Ettore himself.
The band featured, for their first two albums and for most of this album, Bjorn 'Speed' Strid from well known swedish act Soilwork, who contributed his distinctive vocals to some of the album. Also contributing is Antony Hamalainen from the band Nightrage.
The sound is primarily Gothenburg, but there are some more prominant keyboard and electronic elements than some genre-related bands. There is a heavy focus on the more Iron Maiden elements of the Gothenburg style, such as the beginning to the title track 'The Isolation Game' where there is a 'cool' sound to it, like a classic 80's power metal track. This certain sound is varied throughout the album, as there are some more progressive soft-tock moments such as in the tracks 'Glimmer' and 'Beneath a colder sun' and the more straight forward death metal inspired 'Digging the Grave' and the slightly deceptive 'Stepchild Of Laceration' has a Mushroomhead-esque industrial edge to it. Throughout though, there is always flashy, slightly recycled but impressive guitar work that ranges from some basic but horrendously catchy riffs to some very melodic solo-ing.
Theres nothing very innovative in melodeath these days, save from Folk metal bands like Eluveitie and Ensiferum. The same sadly has to be said for DisMundi, but for what it lacks in new ideas it makes up for in sheer musical quality. And with songs like 'Glimmer' and 'Structural wound' its not too hard to see why.
A point to make is that like most melodeath todays, it follows the same rough template as bands did in 1996. Though the template has been used hundreds of times by a hundred bands, Disarmonia Mundi somehow seems to sound fresh, as if listening to your favourite music for the first time all over again. I'm rather hooked.
Lyrics — 7
Vocals are handled by Bjorn and Ettore, with some from Antony as well. They all have their own distinctive tones (though I have no idea which singer has which voice, though I DO know Bjorn sang the title track). Bjorns very Scar Symmtery-esque clean vocals are real emotion tuggers and his growls/screams aren't too shabby either. The other contributing singers also have very good growls/screams.
Lyrics, like in most death metal and infact a lot of music these days, are pretty uninspiring, though lyric contributer Claudio Rivanale tries his hardest to add some philosphical light to it. Heres a section from 'Stepchild of Laceration':
Striking down the walls you have built around my vision still undone yet barely breathing / Anger feeds my heart raging from the inside chances lost can tear you apart
Each word seems simple enough, but pretty heartfelt when sung/screamed. I feel DisMundi are one of the few bands that manage to mix dirty growls and screams with some rather brilliant clean vox into a healthy balance, much like the aforementioned bands Scar Symmetry and Deadlock.
The music somehow seems to meld really well with the vocals, and you can really feel how it sounds when they put the gruff riffs and the gruff vocals together. If you listen to the Black metal band Stormlord then listen to DisMundi, you can hear the heavily borrowed Gotherburg style in Stormlords music, but the vocals and lyrics dont match the style at all so listening to DisMundi will really seem surprising.
Overall Impression — 9
You could probably compare most of the album to hundreds and hundreds of other bands until the sun goes out, but the unique guitar tones, vocal tones and general feel of the music is much more different and welcoming than many other Gothenburg influenced bands.
As a whole, the entire album is riveting, although 14 tracks may be a bit much to take in sometimes. However, well placed soft tracks like Glimmer and Beneath a Cold Sun give it a slightly softer edge, though the album remains a foot-stomping powerfest. If you are in to bands like Scar Symmetry, Soilwork, Sybreed (bands beginning with S) or even In Flames if you're feeling 'brave', you'll find DisMundi a very good addition to any collection or just something to bang your head to.
Songs to look out for? A little redundant to ask, they're all excellent, though the title track is one of my standout favourites along with 'Stepchild of Laceration' and 'Glimmer'.
There a many things to love about this album, mostly just due to its sheer power and to its catchy nature, with few problems in between. The thing I'm not so big on is the use of heavy electronics. Though they appear as subtle overdubs or in intros and bridges, they sound like cheesy dance tracks at times, not like the purely Darkwave styles of the industrial band Sybreed. It maybe something to get used to, or you might take to it easliy, whos to say? But even if not the electronic effects, then surely love the highly powerful melodies and driving drum forces.
If you have a soft spot for 'Please-them-all' Metal, you'll surely love this album.