Reviewed: October 2022
Released: 2022, Black Market Music
Reviewer: Lee Carter
As album names go, you do not get more metal than an album named after programmed cell death. The more you read it, the more you can infer metal-isms. “Programmed” implies technicality, “cell” is related to science, ergo metal, and “death” is the favourite sunshine and rainbows topic of metal bands across the world. In conclusion, ‘Apoptose’ is a metal album. Almost needless to say really, given where this review is being published, but what of the actual music on offer?
SCIENCE OF DISORDER have been kicking it for a while now, forming in 2011 and enjoying a number of tours rubbing shoulders with the likes of SEPTICFLESH, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE and MEGADETH, so they could be considered seasoned veterans at this point. Third album ‘Apoptose’ sees them carry on their old school death metal stylings with a mix of that Scandinavian flavour woven in. If anything is most apparent on the outset of “Kotlas Connection”, it’s the guitar sound: gained-up just enough for that raw crunch, it has a distinctly weighty feel that goes back to a time when tone was not all about razor-sharp incisiveness. Coupled with a colossal bass sound and punchy drums, the instrumental aspect of the band’s sound is extremely well-rounded and has the potential to be read on the Richter scale.
The album can almost be split in two (albeit with an awkward, inaccurate slice). In the first half, you have the heavier hitters that rely more on chunky riffs and bellowed vocals. Tracks like “Hear Us” hit hard and fast – especially with the furiously-spat quickfire vocal lines, while “The Hiding” harks back to the band’s early years as SOULLESS with thrashing fun times. That earlier mention of Scandinavian sound is not without merit, too, especially when you consider “Crawling Chaos” – an AMON AMARTH song by another band. That intro riff, from the note choice to the production, just needs the addition of Johan Hegg’s gutturals and you will be reaching for a broadsword in no time.
Yet the album’s highlight for sheer bludgeoning goodness, has to be the cacophonous “Grind Me”. Arguably SCIENCE OF DISORDER at their most death metal, it rips along at a nitros-injected pace, and slaps riff after riff about the place. Yet it’s the welcome addition of BENIGHTED’s Julien Truchan that really elevates this to a higher plane. Sounding every bit like he is attempting to chew his own throat out and then scream about it, it provides a terrific added energy alongside Jérôme Thomas’ roar and Tom G. Warrior-esque spoken groans. In fact, those groans are most apparent on follow-up “There Is No Sound”, in a contrasting dirge to the previous freneticism. Got to keep things varied, y’know?
It is after “Grind Me” where the band’s use of cleans comes to the fore, alongside a slight softening in their approach. The aforementioned “There Is No Sound” puts the brakes on its speedier predecessor, yet it is on “Redemption” where the melodicism is turned right up. Arguably bearing more resemblance to goth metal, it is still a fitting cut across the album with an uptempo chorus and those weighty guitars, which just goes to show the band’s knack for dabbling in both heavy and melodic. Kudos well-earned there.
Is ‘Apoptose’ breaking new ground at all? No, and while this is an often-asked question (especially here), it really does not need to. SCIENCE OF DISORDER have produced a solid third entry into their discography as a band, and it is plain to see that their opening slots and tours with the above illustrious names are merited. With an element of drama to their music that threads it all together, the band can feel confident that, despite the choice of album title, there will be no programmed cell death for them on the evidence of their work on ‘Apoptose’. Enjoyable.
1. Kotlas Connection
2. Rabid Dog
3. Hear Us
4. Des Rêves Noirs
5. The Hiding
6. Crawling Chaos
7. Grind Me (feat. Julien Truchan of Benighted)
8. There Is No Sound
10. Confirmation Bias
11. Hollow Games
Théophile Schüpbach – Drums
Sylvain “Lord Pelthor” Pelletier – Guitars
Stéphane Grand – Guitar & vocals
Gregory Whopper – Bass
Jérôme Thomas – Vocals