Getting our claws into their outstanding debut EP at the beginning of last year, we suggested that UK metallers Spreading The Disease had “much bigger and bolder trespasses waiting to be nurtured and uncaged as the band evolves.” The release of their first album Insurrection has more than confirmed that thought and realised those hopes in uncompromising and rousing style. The album is a furnace of creative irritability and ravenous imagination, a rabid cauldron of metal bred flavours and angers which confirms Spreading The Disease as one of the most exciting propositions emerging on the British metal scene.
The creation of bassist Steve Saunders, formerly of another fine proposition in The Self Titled, Kent hailing Spreading The Disease emerged in 2014 and quickly lured keen attention through the single Bulldozer and their explosive live presence. Last year the Viral EP stamped the band as a new beast on the UK metal scene, its plaudits garnering release backed by a year scorching venues and ears to equal acclaim. Insurrection is the next step in the band’s evolution and rise; an encounter roaring with the new maturity and invention fuelling the band’s songwriting and sound and snarling with even greater ferocity and quarrel.
The band’s lined up has gone through major changes since Viral, Saunders and guitarist Martin Osbourne being joined by vocalist Connor Russell Snyder and drummer Jack Apella. Whether the spark or just coincidence, the new line-up has coincided with that new evolution and creative breath in an already striking sound. When starting up Spreading The Disease, Saunders wanted to “produce a sound and music that although draws from many bands and influences throws it all into a melting pot and comes out the other side with something that in this day and age is hard to achieve, a sound of their own; a distinctive style that cannot be pigeon holed to say the least.” Insurrection announces the band has achieved that aim; yes there are plenty of recognisable flavours but woven into something compellingly individual to the quartet.
The album opens up with Find My Path and a lure of melodic metal with a darker bass resonance which increasingly looms in on the senses before igniting in a blaze of emotive ire and sonic intensity. Even so it holds its tempest in check, teasing and coaxing attention whilst intriguing the imagination with its unpredictable bait. As it slips into the ethers, the following Words Unspoken is boiling up to launch its sonic lava on the senses. Within seconds a great groove has body and spirit inflamed; its open Pantera inspirations extra pleasure as it burns away. There is a disorder to the song, a tempestuousness which threatens as it pleasures with the band’s vocal backing to the magnetic growls of Snyder excellent, an anthemic call in the heat of the song’s furnace.
There is a ‘calmer’ air to the following Dischord, well a less corrosive tone though it too is a bear of a proposal which is as caustic as it is imaginative. Osbourne paints the trespass with magnetic enterprise, his melodic tendrils and searing grooves as potent as the cantankerous riffs which escape his strings whilst the bass of Saunders springs its own invasive grooving to thrill. Though living up to its title in tone and presence, the track is a web of raw adventure though soon outshone in that department and might by the song Spreading The Disease. Already the album is the source of great variety in sound and style, pushed further by the fourth track and its fusion of nu and groove metal with far darker metal bred textures courting hardcore nurtured antagonism. The song is outstanding, a brawl in the waiting and raw seduction in the making.
Through the Stone Sour/ Sick Of It All spiced Greed, a striking and virulent invasion of punk infused groove metal which just gets more addictive listen by listen, and the similarly textured but far more savage Save Me, the album hits another plateau. Song by song to this point it has just grown in stature and impressiveness, a peak which Whores Of War nurtures to another high with its melodic suggestion and feral antipathy. Its attitude born rancor and sonic annoyance swiftly grabs ears and appetite; the rhythmic vindictiveness of Saunders and Apella as rousing as it is carnivorous and superbly bound in the captivating enterprise of Osbourne. Snyder skilfully bawls from the midst, his power and emotion undoubtedly giving Spreading The Disease a new weapon in their arsenal.
Even darker depths are tapped into by Method To My Madness, Saunders leading the way with his malevolence spewing bass with the band soon uniting in open crankiness and imposing dexterity. The track does not quite match up to those around it yet it grips attention and enjoyment from start to finish with moments where its creative psychosis just hits the spot before Can’t Let Go offers its plaintive reflection, again Stone Sour hinted at within its increasingly volcanic cry. Female vocals add to its magnetism, again the band pushing their imagination and the landscape of the album.
The Rage Against The Machine natured Brexit Wounds snarls and hollers next, Spreading The Disease once again twisting open inspirations into an aural rage of their own design. Plenty of other spices blossom as the song grows and spills its aggravated heart, whiffs of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Slayer arising in the excellent attack before the album closes up with Last Goodbye. It too embraces a Zack de la Rocha and co flavouring, melding it to a hardcore/groove metal furor as skilfully sculpted as it is ferociously delivered.
It is a storming end to an album which sears the senses and ignites the spirit. Insurrection is a brutal imagination bound treat from a band which we will not say has come of age as you still feel there is much more for they and pleasure to plunder ahead but has certainly established a new plateau for their sound and their position within the UK metal scene.
Insurrection is out now across most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 01/11/2017
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