The death metal patrol entitled Spirit Disease was formed in 2002 in Finland. The band hasn't kept a hasty recording pace; their debut album was released in 2006, and this, their second full-lenght, came out now in 2011. They've had quite a few lineup-changes during these years, but it seems that the band has managed to turn these changes into a positive force.
As you might've already guessed from checking out the surprisingly purple cover image, the band drawns their influences from the 90s; so, if you like headbanging and the early works of Morbid Angel, At The Gates and Possessed, there's a fair chance you'll fancy Spirit Disease as well. "Retaliation" even has the usual crunchy 90s soundscape with powerful dynamics, but it's served with a small hint of today's cleanliness so that the album wouldn't sound like a mere pastiche. The group sounds further original due to their many influences from different fields of extreme music; for example, the opener fuses thrash metal and grindcore into a fast and catchy death metal-song, "One Bullet for You" has a great amount of d-beat throughout it's lenght, and "Hoarse" is a (very unnecessary) six-second tribute to Napalm Death and the like.
Spirit Disease sounds fresh despite their oldschool approach. The group is experienced with their instruments as well as the different compositional possibilities in creating a catchy song filled with aggression, and have enough skill, daring, and dark humour to seamlessly fuse it all together. The hoarse shouts and growls reveal the lyrics easily enough, which makes the songs even more catchy since the listener has the possibility to shout along to the simplistic and aggression-filled tales of hate and acts of violence. The vocalist has a good, deep voice, and the backing shout choir helps them uphold their power.
The album isn't perfect, though. The crunchy guitars are backed by skillful drums with a powerful clean sound, that, despite their liveliness, don't really bring any heaviness to the songs. The drums make the songs more appealing and catchy, but make too much of a contrast with the guitars, thus weakening the overall soundscape. The bass guitar fills this emptiness nicely with its vast pulse, but it doesn't help in hiding the small weaknesses in the riffs. The most thrash-oriented riffs would've needed more flesh around them, and grindcore-elements are not the best choice for this.
One has to note, though, that music like this isn't meant to be analyzed and dissected in detail, nor is there any sense in doing so. "Retaliation" is a great album for headbanging, and the group can only improve their music by further rehearsing and tightening the songs further; there is still some extra fat to be cut of from the killing machine built of muscle. I think they could also further explore the realms of d-beat, as its simplisticity and rhythmic qualities seem to be near the center of the band's pleasure zone.
An extra thumbs up is awarded for the 100% fitting visual side. Not many bands would be able to pull of something as tacky.