Review: League of Distortion – League of Distortion

Review: League of Distortion – League of Distortion

Napalm Records (November 25th, 2022)

Reviewer: Jason Hopper

League of Distortion is a new modern metal act formed by singer Anna Brunner and Kissin’ Dynamite guitarist Jim Müller. The two have worked together before on the KD track ‘Ecstasy’, but those expecting a similar sound from this band are in for a shock.  This is modern metal with tinges of industrial and little resemblance to a hard rock sound. For fans of the genre, and those willing to give screaming/singing vocalists a chance, there is some great music to be found with this ensemble.

While I am not a huge fan of vocalists who resort to screaming through tracks, Ms. Brunner is a powerhouse of a vocalist, having recorded with some of the other great female vocalists in metal in the band Exit Eden. Her transitions from whispered vocals to full on roars, when mixed with the sonic bombast of the material, make for an incredibly intense sound.

Opening track ‘Wolf or Lamb’ perfectly encapsulates this. Her breathy vocals pull the listener in with seduction and intrigue until the explosive chorus, which she transitions to with remarkable ease.  Her passion and commitment to the material is to be commended. She truly gives it her all.  Track 2, and first single, ‘My Revenge’, is the highlight of the album.  Of all the songs here, this one has the song structure of Jim’s main band Kissin’ Dynamite. I could see that band recording a track like this. I mean no disrespect to KD’s singer Johannes Braun, but I don’t think he can do material like this the justice it deserves quite like Anna. For a song with that title, you need serious range and rage, which Anna delivers in spades.

Other great tracks include ‘L.O.D’, which sounds like it was constructed to specifically be the opening song for the band when, or if, they play out live. The type of song that defines the sound of the band, aggression and power cranked up to the max. That anger manifests itself in a different way with the heart wrenching track ‘SIN’.  A haunting song about the coverup of child molestation by the Catholic Church, its lyrics, while the best the album has to offer, are like a punch to the gut. It’s both great while also difficult to listen to, as Anna sings it with such conviction, it makes you wonder if the lyrics are autobiographical.

The album sags a bit in the middle as the weakest tracks can be found there, none weaker than ‘I’m a Bitch’. With the chorus basically just a repetition of the title, it also incorporates a big bass drop that rattles the speakers. It’s a technique commonly utilized in electronic dance music.  I hate it there and I certainly don’t like it here. Closing with the classy refrain “Fuck you, I can fuck who I want to” is all the more reason this song should have never made it onto this album.

Another mild issue is the album could have used more up-tempo tracks in the latter half. The closing tracks ‘The Bitter Pill’ and ‘Do You Really Think I Fuckin’ Care’ are solid mid-tempo bashers but being that these tracks follow after ‘SIN’, there’s a depleted energy by the end of the album. A banger like ‘L.O.D’ would have brought this album to a grand, fist-pumping end.

Ultimately, the great material on this release far outweighs the negative aspects. There’s a lot of modern metal bands out there that don’t come close to the greatness this band has to offer. If there’s any justice, this band will get the recognition that bands like Parkway Drive or Five Finger Death Punch get in terms of label and media push. League of Distortion are far better than most of the bands I hear on modern satellite radio. If you find modern metal lacking some key elements in melody, check out this band to see how great modern metal is performed.

 

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