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Disfear: Live The Storm

Disfear: Live The Storm

Release Date:2008

By Jess Harvell | Posted 2/6/2008

Old-school "crossover" usually meant hardcore punk bands tricking out the genre for headbangers while taking care not to get so flashy that they wound up alienating the core slam-dancing audience. Sweden's Disfear inverts that ratio to thrilling effect. Having turned into a side project that has refused to die, the band's members have spent their copious downtime--sometimes five years or more between albums--over the last decade and a half winding through various metal subgenres. And Live the Storm is the sound of collegiate-level extreme musicians applying death metal's speed and ferocity to the thuggish, jackhammer "d-beat" rhythm codified by 1980s bands with plenty of stamina but an occasionally sloppy sense of timekeeping. If hardcore played it loose, Disfear gets its juice from maniacal tightness; the drilling the band got playing for metal audiences less than forgiving of technical flaws makes Disfear's bestial beat hit harder than 95 percent of its precedents.

A loud, grandiose, almost majestic treatment of one the most simplistic subgenres rock has ever known, Live the Storm sounds like Mutt Lange loosed on a scrappy '80s hardcore band way into skulls and the Crass font, inflating the riffs till they can rumble the Plexiglas on the skyboxes of a Stockholm stadium. Except Disfear's Lange is actually Kurt Ballou from Converge, another band that's long blurred the 21st-century crossover line, and while he never cleans the dirt off Live the Storm's nonstop top-end treble, he also assures you can actually make out stuff like the squealing boogie breakdown that bursts bloodily into Judas Priest guitar heroics for about 15 seconds on "The Cage." Ballou's nimble EQ'ing and the band's metallic touches aside, it's still Disfear's fearsomely focused choke hold on that rhythm that really counts. Everything else on Live the Storm is merely gnarly window dressing on the most barbarous punk record in some time.

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