(Century Media)

01. Nuclear Salvation
02. Boundless
03. The Essence of Neglect
04. Abortion Stew
05. The Desire
06. Rituals of Bloodshed
07. Facemask
08. Insomaniac (Bonus Track)
09. Value in Flesh
10. Abandonmen

RATING: 8/10

Formed in 2004, it's taken six years for death metal super group INSIDIOUS DISEASE to crank out their much anticipated debut album, "Shadowcast". And what a heartbreaking disappointment it turned out to be. Just kidding. It is actually an album that lives up to its membership pedigree, as well as offering fans a traditional death metal album, yet one that is just modern enough to make a term like "old school" seem inaccurate. With a lineup that includes Marc Grewe (MORGOTH), guitarists Silenoz (DIMMU BORGIR) and Jadar (OLD MAN'S CHILD), bassist Shane Embury (NAPALM DEATH, VENOMOUS CONCEPT, BRUJERIA), and drummer Tony Laureano (ANGELCORPSE, NILE), one would expect nothing less than death metal excellence.

So maybe "Shadowcast" doesn't quite rise to the level of DM excellence, but it comes pretty darn close. Oddly enough, the first several spins revealed an album that was unrelenting in its savagery, while inclusive of ebb 'n flow pacing, godforsaken riff chunking, and Grewe's psychopathic mid-range screams/growls, yet it just wasn't sticking with me for some reason. Could it be that all the requisite elements for the proverbial evisceration ritual were present, except for memorable songwriting? Nah, it just took a few spins, probably because I'd been so occupied with the new WITCHERY album that I wasn't paying close enough attention to "Shadowcast". It happens.

Once those meat hooks sink in deep, you'll never get them out. I mean, good lord, "Shadowcast" beats you into submission until you're willing to do anything it wants, not matter what the cost to mental health and physical well being. The path to becoming INSIDIOUS DISEASE's bitch starts with the staunch attention the band paid to cadence and transition, not to mention lots of magically delicious six-string crunches. The rampaging nature of the beast may be the one constant, but it is the combination of rumble-to-blast-to-groove pace shifting and the lead guitar contrasts that gives songs like "Boundless", "The Desire", and "Facemask" more depth than may initially seem apparent. Reminders of ASPHYX, OBITUARY, and an amalgam of Dutch and Swedish acts are certainly present, but never does one feel as though "Shadowcast" was made by a tribute act.

From the serpentine licks during the ungodly plodding sections of "Abortion Stew" to the calamitous gallop of "Insomaniac" (a bonus track with one of the two most memorable choruses) to the speeding stutter-chug of "Rituals of Bloodshed" (the other notable chorus) to the numerous examples of attention-grabbing solos that are based in dark melody/feeling, "Shadowcast" is a welcome release in what has already turned out to be a grand slam year for death metal. Whatever the amount of time spent writing/recording "Shadowcast", the album sure sounds like a lot of care and concentration went into its creation.


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