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2 stars If "Living Mirrors" had been my introduction to Disperse, this review would perhaps go something like this:

"Disperse bring the often repetitive 'djent' sound to a wider range of influences, incorporating atmospheric progressive rock and ambient into the standard chuggy tone. In a scene of Periphery and Animals as Leaders clones, Disperse stand out with their melodic delivery and atmospheric base."

But unfortunately, around 3 months ago, I managed to get my hands on their debut, "Journey Through the Hidden Gardens". Journey had been on my list of stuff I should hear for a very long time, but finding many of these can be a trouble. I loved the album from the start, the band finding a unique balance between neo-prog and metal, in a way only Dec Burke's many different bands has achieved. But with this, the follow-up, they have regressed. Regressed to a second-rate djent band. Admittedly better than 98% of djent bands, but this is a regression nonetheless.

If you search through my previous ratings, you'll see that I actually gave Periphery's second output a positive score, as well as a few for lesser-known bands like Oceanwalker, Wings Denied and Loxodrome. But most of these ratings have been in spite of the chuggy guitars, not because of. And to hear a band with such a lush and fantastic sound fall to this clichéd and overpopulated scene of bedroom projects is a real shame.

Of course, this was just an expectation. As my rating suggests, this isn't actually a bad album. Admittedly it hits dangerously close to cliché, and the autotune-laden "Unbroken Shiver" is almost unlistenable, although you have to give them points for inventiveness. When the album shifts from djent and into the rather ambient neo-prog, we hear some rather nice results.

However, for every nice moment, there is an equally bad one. The wonderful intro of "Dancing With Endless Love" is destroyed in the mess of "Enigma of Abode", which takes from Periphery's weird electronic side to some almost power metal riffing. Every time a nice chorus comes in, a huge slurry of messy riffs and chugging overwhelms. Even the ambience is incredibly unoriginal, with most of the "noodly" guitars coming directly from the Animals As Leaders camp.

To be completely honest, if I want to enjoy this record, I have to think of this as a completely different band. I will always admire a band who take rapid changes, like when Periphery went for melodic over metalcore for their second release, it truly changed my views of them. But I feel Disperse have gone the wrong way. If Living Mirrors was the debut and Journey was the sophomore, I would hail them as fantastic innovators.

But "djent", is a very childish scene. I can't say this without sounding like a tool, but although there are bands I enjoy within the scene, it feels like something one grows out of, not into. There's a reason djent bands are generally teenagers in their bedrooms masturbating to Meshuggah riffs.

You've got to think of this as a debut. And if it was, I'd call Disperse a promising band who show signs of producing something great. But unfortunately, these boys have already done something great, and it is named "Journey Through The Hidden Gardens".

Originally written for my facebook page/blog

Report this review (#928432)
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I heard the debut album from Disperse 'Journey Through the Hidden Gardens' back in 2010 I became an instant fan. It was a surprising album from this young and unknown Polish band. What made it even more remarkable was that all the band members were still in their teens. The band has now followed up their debut with an equally mesmerising album 'Living Mirrors'. This album is simply packed full of emotion and atmosphere. Each band member is in amazing form, but much like their debut it is guitarist Jakub Zyetcki that steals the show. You only need to listen to the instrumental intro Dancing with Endless Love to understand just what special talent Jakub and his bandmates possess. I look forward to following this band for many more years to come, this is only the beginning.
Report this review (#968617)
Posted Sunday, June 2, 2013 | Review Permalink

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