Disbelief 66Sick

This German band blew my mind open in a pretty big way with 2003’s Spreading the Rage. The mix of huge, sprawling vocal lines against a backdrop of melody, heaviness and unorthodox groove was actually something quite fresh, like Neurosis tapping into Pantera’s mindset. And maybe just because this new, horribly named album had some serious expectations behind it and wasn’t the wonderful sucker punch of the last, it’s a bit of a letdown. The songs feel a bit more streamlined, but the problem with gaining cohesion with their sound is that it basically becomes a bit too radio-friendly, like a slightly more mature and heavy take on nü-metal. But unlike their pseudo-peers, these guys know how to create an atmosphere in their songs, most tracks building to the point of rewarding climax. The album may lack the initial punch that the last had, but give it a few listens and the intensity is still there, hidden behind a slightly less menacing face that is still Disbelief’s own — minor adjustments aside. (Nuclear Blast)