Disfear – Live the Storm

Disfear – Live the Storm - 4/5

So right now I'm depressed and I'm angry, and rather than find myself reaching for my collection of death metal or grindcore, I find myself clambering for this bands most recent offering (admittedly at three years old, I'm still late to this party) and hoping I can write this all up before my inherent alcoholism takes a turn for the worse and I start making bad metaphors. But lets back everything up a little; Disfear is a name that all hardcore punk fans should know. These Swedes took the old English standard in hardcore punk and married it to a handsome couple of D-Beat and Crust (with perhaps a mistress' touch of rock n' roll thrown in for good measure); the former renowned for playing most prominently on the downbeat (hence deriving their name) and the latter a sort of 'fusion' of punk and metal. But don't go thinking of some sort of metalcore tripe, this the shredding guitars of the best thrash solo with all the bass of doom coupled with the chaos of hardcore. This is one step away from grindcore and I'd be turning up the bass a notch to appreciate this fact, except this album really doesn't need it.

At only 35 minutes, it never really manages to strike up a huge amount of variance. The drums are a major source of the problem, always there to supply what seems like a very limited offering and maintaining a remarkably similar beat from start to finish. The vocalist doesn't have a great range with the only difference being the times he's pissed and the times he's really pissed, the bass feels mostly there for atmosphere and the guitars spend an awfully long time playing power chords. There are flourishes with other ideas; “Maps of War” has an electronic sounding breakdown – done well I might add – but for the most part they don't stray too far from the D-Beat handbook. You could pick a random point from a random track and it would be a good place to start listening to the album. And it won't be long before you find yourself nodding your head in appreciation.

You see, this is why none of that matters. Of all the three major “Dis's of D-Beat” - Discharge, Disclose and Disfear – only two are still going, and only Disfear has seemed to be able to keep up with the times. The production is modern but still not without that raw edge; the bass is still loud enough to make your spine vibrate but it never for a moment loses track of the guitars assault and their relentless supply of solo's and riffs, without a doubt the highlight of this album's performance. The vocals are still oddly warm and yet have lost none of the passion that made them big to begin with. D-Beat isn't big business and it likely never will be. The fact that these lonely Swedes are overshadowed by their “Discharge-ing” contemporaries must be a constant frustration, and you can tell. Every shredded guitar solo, every time the vocalist struggles to sing above the cacophony wailing behind him, every time the rest of the band can't help but get their thoughts out by screaming along with him; the never ending quest to destroy studio equipment to relieve some of their anger, it all reeks of frustration and aggression. It kicks off with a bang and slows down for no man.