It starts off promisingly. The triplet heavy opening riff on the opener, which also happens to be the title track, is rousing enough. Then the vocals come in for the verse and everything goes off the rails. It’s clear that the style here was influenced by the grimiest of grunge. And to be fair, if you can stomach Rob Zombie’s voice on the earliest of White Zombie recordings, then you may be able to wade through the rough waters of Disguise. But boy, are they rough. It’s not even like he’s trying to scream or anything. There are melodies being attempted here. And sometimes, sometimes, when they are accompanied by gang vocals or drowned underneath the other loudest thing on this record – which is obviously power chords – they’re even bearable. But like, there’s a power ballad here. It’s called “In The End” and it’s… it’s the sound of something this band was not ready to attempt, as noble and commendable as the effort was.
The production on this thing is also everywhere in a very similar fashion. Like, the music is pretty straight-forward alt-rock, so the sheer number of effects, filters, and other parlour tricks that were used just seems like overkill. And the weirdest part is, because none of these elements were applied cleanly, it ends up sounding messier than if they had left it barren.
Listen, I’m all for sleazy music. Give me that Bleach. I love it when that Black Light Burns. A joke about Refused. But this is sloppy. I can see how this might go over well live, extremely late at night, after the pints have been on special. But as something to actually listen to voluntarily during the day and not inebriated? That’s asking a lot.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy