The Isolation Game is a 4th album from Italian melodic deathsters Disarmonia Mundi.
Following on from the excellent Mind Tricks, Isolation Game sees them changing things up slightly and expanding their sound in a few different directions. From the onset its obvious that this is a fair bit beefier and that the thrash and groove metal elements are more prominent then previous offerings. DM have always been a good shade heavier then your average In Flames wannabe, but the hell for leather thrashings of Blacklight Rush, Digging the Grave of Silence and Same Old Nails... see the band edging towards semi-extreme territory. A lot of this is due to some really crushing riffs and much more brutal drumming form band mastermind and multi-talented Ettore Rigotti, expecially in his blast beats. Paradoxically, at the same time the band has gotten a little bit softer in their melodies and bizarrly taken on a bit of a metalcore influence; some of the clean vocals and stattaco riffs owe a lot to a certain Killswitch Engage (see The Isolation Game and Ties that Bind). Metalcore isn't really my cup f tea these days, but thankfully Rigotti is such a good song wrtier he manages to make it work with DMs melodic death and thrash roots. Lets get one thing clear though, by 'metalcore' i don't mean the watered down dribble of bands like Bullet for My Valentine, but rarther the better offerings of that genre like Alive or Just Breathing by Killswitch. And we're talking melodeath with metalcore influences rather then wholescale metalcore.
The resulting album is something of an oddity in that it's heavier and also more accesable then their previous offerings at the same time. On the plus, the duo has arrived at their own sound and can't be written off by detractors as Soilwork clones anymore. Its also a really busy album; there's just so much going on all the time with multiple layers of vocals, guitars and electronics and proably the most complex writing since their debut. I think Rigotti really pushed himself in terms of composition - he's still doing things that leave the majority of melodic death metallers in the dust as far as six strings are concerned (see Loosing Ground, Digging the Grave of Silence, Shape of Things to come). Claudio also does a good job on death vocals, although he too has picked up a bit of a metalcore edge.
I definitely like Isolation Game, despite it being panned by a lot of the metal media. i'm pleased to see the band expanding on their sound and progressing. I really likes the more extreme elements of this album, and as always Rigotti's instrumental prowess is something to behold. I just can't help thinking if they'd turned down the sugary emo-metalcore singing a bit this could have been a lot better, but i guess its just my personal preference at the end of the day. Overall, great guitar work, good interplay of melody and agression, well written, well produced, and with enough variety to make it worth your while. it doesn't top Mind Tricks or Fragments of D-generation though...
After mind tricks I thought it would be hard to release a great album after, I was wrong. It's hooky but yet complex and being this album has a bit more focus on Claudio and Ettore's vocals and I thought it was definitely more amazing to hear but still liking Bjorn's vocal input. The instrumentation is a complete mixture of some songs having speed (no pun intended) and some songs having a beautiful soft instrumentals like glimmer. Though the use of joined vocals by each member on building an empire of dust, despite it's quite a decent idea doesn't suit this band as the vocals seem to lose harmony and fall out of place. This album is still a buy as Ettore's instrumentality has still done well for this album and hopefully for more album's to come.