I suppose I should explain myself before I fully get into the nuts and bolts of why I consider this Sweden's finest Death Metal
record ever. It's true that Dismember
were not as technically skilled as a lot of their peers (though you can't argue that the instrumentation isn't tight and focused). It's certainly true that other Swedeath bands were dramatically more ambitious in terms of song structure; this list even has a couple of them. (At The Gates
and Liers In Wait
) But, more than any other record in the old Stockholm scene, Dismember
sum up that old scene in the absolute best way possible.
One of the things that immediately stands out about Dismember
on this record is the composition. The overall riffcraft isn't the most technical, but the band weaves them all together in the best way possible. Numerous riffs contain just as many nods to Slayer
as they do Autopsy
, but what sets this band apart is their mastery of melody. Contrary to what some like to claim, Dismember
has always been a deeply melodic band at heart. The band shows it in the very first riff of the entire album, for hell's sake. I am, of course, talking about "Override of the Overture", a song positively filled with brilliant riffs and explosive tension throughout (note how the band alternates those vibrantly melodic tremolo riffs with the more thrash-based ones and never sounds like they were slapped together - if anything, each riff sounds absolutely vital in that song, everything falls into place, even during that thrash break). Everything about that song - including the simple yet evocative and powerful solo - is Swedeath perfection. It vies with "Left Hand Path
", "City of Screaming Statues, and "Primal
Breath" as being the greatest Death Metal
song Sweden ever gave the world.
Unlike that record though, this isn't an example of a band blowing their load too early. Dismember
excel throughout the record; each song is filled with brilliant riffs, powerful leads and a powerful sense of tension and dynamics throughout. The riffs are amazing; each one is incisive yet intensely powerful, and each one feels distinctly necessary in the songs. The songs, even the really short and violent ones in the form of "Soon to be Dead
" and "Skin
Her Alive" never feel slapped together. In addition, the band's sense of album structuring is extremely strong, in following up the longer, more epic tracks with those shorter, violent songs. Each song is utterly amazing; "Dismember
ed" has one of the greatest melodic build ups towards all out carnage - no pun intended - that any Death Metal
band has ever done, and "In Death
" does a brilliant job of summing up the greatness of the record as a closer. "Sickening
So is Life
", the more punky "Bleed
For Me"... nothing is bad here.
The performances on this record are outstanding. The band are clearly tight and focused throughout the entire running time of the record, but with an impossible sense of enthusiasm you can't deny. The drumming is something a lot of people call out this record for - it's true that Fred Estby is no virtuoso at drumming, but he keeps the rhythms tightly and well without becoming intrusive. Matti Karki's grotesque, deranged, yet comprehensible vocal delivery is convincing throughout as well; you couldn't ask for something better here. And
the production? Absolutely perfect for the music on hand. The guitar tone sounds like a rusty chainsaw about to go to town, the drums have a full, powerful tone to them, bass is between the guitars (audible if you look for it), and the vocals have enough reverb on them to stand out as a leading voice but not to overpower. (classic Sunlight Studios fashion, really) The production is raw, but everything is clearly discernible for all to hear, and it fits the music like only the best can...
Absolutely brilliant. Dismember
are a consistent bunch for sure... but this is their finest moment. Above all.