Northern Ireland’s outsider three piece Therapy? return with their 14th studio album Disquiet. In spite of their misfit status, they have outlasted a great number of their peers and yet remained tangibly underground, sticking to their musical guns for the span of their career. Disquiet is an homage their earlier material but delivered with a measured and directed anger rather than the impotent rage seen on 1992’s Teethgrinder and 1994’s Troublegum. While this may sound like a departure, they have remained true to their roots and inspiration. They cite having gone back to basics and writing using the methods they used writing Troublegum and writing songs that fit neatly with the style of specific tracks in their 90’s back-catalogue.
This is evident when the album opens with Andy Carins growling “Help me…” and leaping into a ferocious onslaught from drummer Neil Cooper and Michael McKeegan on bass in Still Hurts. The entire album has the 90’s punk/metal feel Therapy? brought to us over 20 years ago, but brings with it a maturity we haven’t heard from them before. The entire LP is a departure from the last couple of albums’ more experimental vibe and moves sleekly towards punk anthems, coupling vocal harmonies and catchy guitar riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bad Religion setlist.
Disquiet builds up steam slowly really kicking off with Idiot Cousin, rolling in with a baseline like a zombie’s limp, it quickly meets a razor like guitar and the howling chorus of “Yeah?….I hate you more than you hate me…”. In quick succession we come to the mosh-pit starter Helpless Still Lost followed by Insecurity the musical lovechild of Depeche Mode and Black Sabbath (perhaps inspired by their 1994 tribute collaboration with Ozzy) and the chanting chorus of Torment Sorrow Misery Strife is a surefire crowd pleaser.
While Andy’s vocals occasionally get lost amongst the audible chaos that we’ve grown to love Therapy? for, the album is overall, a great listen. Especially once you get past some of the ‘puntastic’ song titles, the most cringeworthy being Vulgar Display of Powder, you notice that all the songs fit their titles perfectly. My only real misgiving on the whole album is the opening lyric to Fall Behind, which had it been buried in a bigger sound would not have stood out like a sore thumb. Although I get what he’s singing about, if feel it could be more eloquently put than “Everything is a crux, everything is totally f**ked, there’s a great big knot that I need to undo”.
The album finishes on it’s highest note, the brutal six and a half minute Deathstimate which could easily be passed off as the brainchild of Tom Morello, the riffs will be stuck with you for days and is a blinding finish to the album.
While a much more accessible and melodic addition to their ever-expanding discography, I’m not convinced that Disquiet will appeal to younger listeners. The feel of the album is a little dated overall and consequently falls a little out of place on the current punk/metal scene. If you are a fan of the 80’s and 90’s punk and metal scene, then this album is definitely for you and an absolute must for die hard Therapy? fans.
Stand out tracks: Helpless Still Lost, Insecurity, Torment Sorrow Misery Strife, Deathstimate