… it’s pretty good.
Still don’t know how I would compare it to Phantom’s most lauded releases, Withdrawal and Fallen Angel, but at first listen I’d say it ranks pretty high up there.
Other sites have already published some quite lengthy reviews of this album, notably Best Black Metal and MetalZone, and there’s really not that much I can add that hasn’t already been stated on those two sites and elsewhere.
I do have a few points of contention though. First of all, calling Angel of Disease black metal is a bit of a stretch. Phantom has always straddled the line between black metal, death metal and their own original style of music, often dubbed “Phantom metal” by its adherents.
In the case of Angel of Disease though, the music falls much closer to the death metal side – with its structural riffing, complex song structures, and of course the famous “riff mazes” often associated with Phantom’s later work (starting with Memento Mori).
In fact, Memento Mori was pretty close to being death metal – or blackened death metal – itself, and Angel of Disease only takes that style one step further down the path of musical insanity.
What else is there to say… do you like Fallen Angel’s depraved and haunting atmospheres? Of course you do. Well take that same formula, and increase the complexity a thousandfold (I’m not even joking) and you’ll get something like Angel of Disease.
It’s a great album, no doubt, but I would only recommend it to those already familiar with Phantom and extreme blackened death metal… novices won’t “get” what makes this music so powerful, and they’ll just leave more confused and disturbed.
Start with Eidolon, which is entry-level Phantom, and work your way up from there. Angel of Disease is far too intense and disturbing for beginners to listen to.