Thy Disease
Cold Skin Obsession

Here’s an interesting one, Polish death metal ala Behemoth and Lost Soul, mixed with Nocturnus-like futuristic “spacey” synths. The result isn’t all bad, which is mainly due to the merits of convincing death metal played under all the superfluous keyboards. The mix is a little odd but the synth/death mix never is as engaging or competent as say Grief Of Emerald. Cold Skin Obsession also never quite steps into the realms of atmospheric death metal or blacker territories.

Boasting a deep Behemoth-like production, the drums are the driving force, but they sound robotic and programmed even though sticksman Alize666, gives them a pretty good workout. Otherwise, the sound is pretty brutal, other than the occasionally thin keyboard sound, which I think’s intentional. Vocalist Psycho has an impressive bellow and tortured scream and seems to fit the extreme metal frontman persona perfectly.

On to the music, it varies from pretty impressive to utterly confused. The whole affair, however, thankfully strays from the usual Vader worship. Opening song “Perfect Form” is a good one to start the album, with it’s strong grinding main riff that is slightly ruined by some way too “peppy” keyboards. The song counters with a nice melodic blastbeat, and then a decent clean vocal break. It should be noted that Cold Skin Obsession comes with a video of “Perfect Form”, which is a little more than the usual blood covered goth chicks writhing through a low budget death metal attempt at being scary. Anyway, it goes on with “Blade Intimacy”, another strong driving death metal track that comes close to being ruined by the extraneous synths that should give the music a cosmic vibe. Sadly, they sound more like Disney. They do a better job to start “War Is Mine”, as the first two minutes or so is purely a space age intro of sorts, and it works much better than when thrown opposite some very powerful guttural vocals and chaotic riffs. During the song, the extra synths are noticeably missing, as if keyboardist Cube used up his allotted minutes during the intro, but either way the song carries the ferocity of Morbid Angel’s lurching riffs and drums.

The balance of synths and blazing metal is a little better in “Ultimate Reign”, which features a nice choppy main riff, but more importantly the synths are far less dominating. Then my friends, a musical epiphany of sorts, courtesy of Mr. Trevor Jones and Mr. Randy Edelmen You see, they composed the brilliant “Last of the Mohicans” soundtrack. Thy Disease took the soundtrack’s best parts (the main theme and “Promentory”) and gave it a stylish death metal treatment. The end result is the best example of classical done metal since Nile did “Mars, Bringer of War”. The original has the ability to bring me to tears, so throw in blastbeats, metal synths and blazing riffs, and…well, you can imagine. If you’re a fan of the soundtrack get this album just for this song. The only downer is that’s too short. Don’t you wish more extreme acts would do this? Could you imagine Nile doing the main theme from Conan the Barbarian? Or Aeturnus’s interpretation of the “Imperial March” from Star Wars?

Anyway, after the album’s sky-high mid point, I’m thinking Thy Disease had better churn out some good songs of their own to make me stop going to the cover over and over again. Luckily, they follow it up with the ultra intense “Cold”, a relatively short blaster that refocuses the listener on all things brutal. Not surprisingly, Thy Disease take a step back at the end of “Redemption In…Pain”, as after a solid start and mid section, they feel the call of the cosmos and careen into a dance beat laced Arcturus-like trip hop cluster. Even compared to the album’s most quirky star gazing moments, it sounds pretty ridiculous, especially when a majority of the music is pretty darn savage. I’ve heard some similar interludes sound decent in an album, but here it sounds horribly provisional and out of place. Unfortunately, the album doesn’t ever reach the highs of early on, as “Nihilistic Tranquility” ends up being a lengthy journey through Thy Disease’s less competent, more experimental side. It starts with more of a Dimmu Borgir structure, but is split by yet another groovy Arcturus-like segment, followed by what appears to be part of a Soulfly/Sepultura breakdown, complete with Brazilian lyrics. Then it’s back to a more Northern sounding blastbeat. The whole thing is just way to muddled for its own good. Finish with an ominous instrumental/drum beat/spoken word outro, and an average cover of an average Death song (“Without Judgement”) and the album closes on a pretty sour note.

Additionally, I was unimpressed by the lyrics that seem to feign a deeper intellectual meaning, but never really break from their own cliches. Much like a comet entering the Earth’s atmosphere, Cold Skin Obsession starts with a bright fury, peaks, and then fizzles. The album does give glimpse of what Thy Disease are capable when they focus on their empyrean laced death metal, but that’s about it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 18th, 2002

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