Disarmonia Mundi: if that sounds foreign to you, you're right. Disarmonia Mundi hail from Southern Europe, namely Italy. Disarmonia Mundi means something like "a lack of harmony in this world". Italy you say? So, they probably play some kind of epic power metal along with high pitched voices and soaring guitars of some sort, right? You couldn't be more wrong: the Italians play a very progressive, melodic kind of death metal.
Disarmonia Mundi are a very special band. Besides the (from an Italian point of view) unusual kind of metal, the line up is far from ordinairy. Ettore Rigotti on guitar, drums and keys and he's also responsible for the clean vocals (in which he does a great job by the way). Claudio Ravinale is the bands songwriter and backing vocalist. Mirco Andreis plays bass. And finally the main vocals are taken into account by Soilwork and Terror 2000 frontman Speed Strid. If that isn't enough, Disarmonia Mundi also make free use of two guest musicians: Benny Bianco Chinto (who actually happens to be a former lead singer with Disarmonia Mundi) has written lyrics for and sings additional backing vocals on Comon State of Inner Violence, Red Clouds, Ouicksand Cemetery, A Mirror Behind and Colors of a New Era. Finally additional vocals were done by Willy Barbero. All this makes me wonder how they'll ever play live, as their current line up does not seem to support a live act (and I do not see their frontman joining Disarmonia Mundi either).
This is not all that makes them different from other bands--they also completely selfproduce their albums, something they started with back in 2000. Instead of producing a demo, the band decided to record a full length album, completely consisting of the bands earlier compositions. That they are able to record a complete album, is mainly due to the fact that Ettore owns a homestudio in which the album can be produced. The self produced debut album "Nebularium" (which means Nebula) saw the light of day in the first few months of 2000 and is positively reviewed everywhere. After that, various line up changes occurred, and the band starts working on the follow up to Nebularium. They sign to Scarlet Records, but again decide to produce the second album all by themselves. In the mean time Bjorn "Speed" Strid has joined the band to record the main vocals. Their sophomore album is then recorded in Ettores home studio and is entitled Fragments of D-Generation.
I'll have to tell you something about Nebularium first. In a genre that's crowded with copycats, Nebularium was an example of how death metal can still evolve. Although Disarmonia Mundi had its roots firmly tucked in melodic death, you could immediately hear this band's fresh and mature approach to death metal in general. Nebularium was characterized by a crystal clear production, mature lyrics and an innovative aproach to melodic death. Ad the fact that the band was a newcomer who had completely selfproduced it's own album and you'll understand that Disarmonia Mundi was (and still is!) an extraordinary band. Fragments of D-Generation still retains all of the forementioned qualities: a fat production, progressive metal, a mature album which can compete with the best. It lacks one quality when compared to Nebularium though--the freshness with which Disarmonia Mundi surprised the metal world two years back is gone.
Let's therefore take a look at D-Generation itself. What in my opinion makes this album so strong is the fact it sounds so complete--everything falls into place; nothing is overdone. When there is an electronic or distorted sound (Colors of a New Era) it's in place, when there is a riff or a clean-sung chorus, it's right. All of these things add up to perfectly composed and balanced songs. If I have to name one thing though where Fragments of D-generation excels in, I'll have to say it are the clean-sung choruses. Just listen to the first two songs for example, Common State of Inner Violence, Morgue of Centuries and the beautiful solo in Colors of a New Era; they tend to stick in your head for quite a while. Besides that the album offers lots of melodies (Swallow the Flames) and heavy riffs (Ouicksand Symmetrie or Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams for instance). The whole album is practically played in mid-tempo with few interruptions in pace (listen to Oceangrave or A Mirror Behind for the exception to the rule). Finally, let's not forget the voice of Speed Strid, who, as usual, screams his lungs out.
On the downside, the use of Strids voice tends to remind you of a little bit of Soilwork. I therefore wished they had retained the services of their old screamer Benny Chinto. Disarmonia Mundi are defintely not another Soilwork clone though; they're too just to creative. Another slight concern--a bit more variation in tempo would have been nice.
So my feelings about Fragments are kind of mixed up. One the one hand it's a masterpiece, a very complete album truly made by professionals. On the other hand it's not as innovative as Nebularium was--the songs are great but you'll discover little diversity in between once you'll get to know the album, but that's not necesarilly bad. There is too much mucisianship in Disarmonia Mundi to 've come up with a mediocre album. I still think that Fragments of D-Generation has become a very good album, one you should definitevely give a try when death metal is your thing.
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