Don’t get me wrong, While I have enjoyed the last two Dismember albums, the fact is both Where Ironcrosses Grow and even the fine The God That Never Was, just seemed a bit forced and too melodic for me. However, with the self-titled tenth album, an infusion of youth into the line up and yet another label, the Swedish stalwarts have delivered their best and most throwback work since Death Metal and maybe Indecent & Obscene.

I, like most was a bit worried about the departure of long time drummer and song writer Fred Estby, but first Thomas Daun (Insision, Repugnant) fills in admirably, and second, vocalist Matti Karki and guitarists David Blomquist and Martin Persson ensure that Dismember’s sound is intact and, in fact returning to form.

The album that comes to mind is Indecent & Obscene as far as tone, structure and mood. There’ still an menacing melody lurking underneath the classic Dismember riffs, for example the solo that closes “Under a Bloodred Sky”, but its melodic as Like An Ever Flowing Stream melodic, not more solo based Gothenburg melodic, which the last two albums seemed to have a lot of. However, most of the tracks, from opener “Death Conquers All” to “The Hills Have Eyes”, the furious “Legion”, “Combat Fatigue” and “To End it All” are more focused on classic, slicing Dismember riffs than solos. Of course, a couple of slower, more controlled tracks like “Europa Burns”, “Tide of Blood”, “Dark Depth” and the simply oozing “No Honour In Death” break up the re-invigorated fury, but it all seems far more natural and flowing than the last two albums.

Atmospheric closer “Black Sun” further adds to the Indecent & Obscene comparison with a haunting “Dreaming In Red” like closure to the album, as does the production courtesy of Entombed’s Nico Elgstrand, whose work with Murder Squad appears to have influenced this album’s more organic, raw tone as opposed to Estby’s fiddling. Vocalist Matti Karki is his usual self, again shifting into more modern world and War based themes, but even I think he sounds far more feral than he has in years.

Ultimately though, this is a Dismember album, and isn’t redefining death metal or pushing any sort of envelope for brutality or technicality. But it is enforcing that Dismember, after 20 years and 10 albums are in fact going strong and not compromising their sound regardless of label, trends or peer pressure.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 19th, 2008


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