Disarmonia Mundi—"The Isolation Game" Album Review

Updated on July 13, 2018
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I write creative writing pieces inspired by '80s action, gaming, and heavy metal—classic "good vs evil" stories with smart twists.

Track Listing and Line-Up

Tracks

1. Cypher Drone
2. Structural Wound
3. Perdition Haze
4. Building An Empire Of Dust
5. Stepchild Of Laceration
6. The Isolation Game
7. Blacklight Rush
8. Glimmer
9. Ties That Bind
10. Losing Ground
11. Same Old Nails For A New Messiah
12. Digging The Grave Of Silence

13. Shape of Things to Come (Bonus)

Line-Up

Ettore Rigotti − guitars, drums, bass guitar, keyboards, clean vocals
Claudio Ravinale − harsh vocals, lyrics

The album also features vocals by Bjorn "Speed" Strid (Soilwork) alongside Antony Hämäläinen (vocals) and guitarist Olof Mörck (Nightrage) performed on 2 songs.

My History With the Record

This record was my introduction to Disarmonia Mundi. It was a major highlight from my exploration into the genre called melodic death metal/melodeath. Soilwork's "Chainheart Machine," Amon Amarth's "Twilight of the Thunder God", and Sonic Syndicate's "Only Inhuman" were deeply ingrained in my mind, and I was on my way to blooming into a melodeath warrior, when I stumbled across this incredible record. Back when I used to visit online metal-archives, Disarmonia Mundi popped up on the list. After a quick YouTube search, I was hooked.

The gritty guitar work sounded like a circular saw cutting lead piping. It triggered images of death matches in abandoned prisons, loner heroes traversing blood-soaked hallways, and more images of going to dangerous places where death was imminent. You can't help but to imagine yourself as the protagonist in the aforementioned situations. This is the way my mind went during my time with the album.

Disarmonia Mundi - Perdition Haze

The Review

Disarmonia Mundi are a melodic death metal band with progressive elements with many intense, time-stopping moments of beautiful harmonies started by clean passages and guided by headbanging, artillery-ordnance guitars with fire support from bass and drums; like a Soviet Katyusha missile launcher raining hot hell down; making this a highly enjoyable record with 14 tracks of melodic mastery which explores themes such as society, insanity and violence with vocalist Claudio Ravinale sounding like a more insane, borderline possessed Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) while Ettore Rigotti's clean passages stop time while his guitarwork tears the air and cuts up jumbo jets with its wings.

The 14 tracks have a slightly Lo-Fi production; vocals have a "hiss" to them while drums have more punch and guitars have a grinding sound, this was a feature of earlier In Flames and some Russian melodeath bands which maximises the album's impact; making it sound more gritty; appropriate considering the theme and the mood it goes for. Musically, the album appears to be doing its own thing with riffs that I have not heard in other melodeath releases, even underground ones while clean passages coming out of nowhere; leaving me thinking during the build-ups "they wouldn't, the track is too good as it is" only to blow my head off and make me lose myself in excitement; headbanging in public included.

I enjoy this album in its entirety and frequently come back to it, however, there are some tracks that grabbed me more. they are; The Shape of Things To Come; a devastatingly melodic final showdown (it's the last track on the record) with aggressive overtones and a nerve-massaging solo which goes off into the distance; this is the ultimate revenge track. Digging the Grave of Silence is another favorite track of mine; an auditory middle finger to any adversary as the lyrics all aim to challenge and scream "YOU WILL NEVER DEFEAT ME!" Same Old Nails for a New Messiah is so intense it could be battle music in games like Serious Sam or Painkiller with galloping bass passages, down-tuned guitar grinds to signal the next bad guy to be disemboweled.

Overall, this is an intense record that I would give to anyone who explores the melodeath genre as it has the best parts of death metal mixed with melodic elements that compliment the aggressive, dark mood. The record does not try to sound like In Flames (something many tried) and instead, chooses a direction and sticks with it; forging Disarmonia Mundi its own identity.

Shape of Things To Come

Conclusion

Overall, The Isolation Game is an album that challenges your senses with strategically placed clean passages, guitar solos alongside the dark lyrics which remind us of the death part of the genre's name. There are slow-paced methodical tracks just as fast barrages; both done very well. A chaotic yet orderly masterpiece of musical majesty.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jake Clawson

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