Dismember - Dismember
Regain Records
Death Metal
11 songs (42'36")
Release year: 2008
Dismember, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

When you have been spilling guts for almost 20 years in the metal genre far away from mainstream, moreover, if you have been widely recognized as one of this very genre originators, the question is – when is the time to release a self-titled album, something that is often construed as a definitive statement of what your sound is going to be remembered for? Swedish kings of true death metal Dismember think they have the answer. The time is now, in 2008, 17 years after the seminal Like an Everflowing Stream and Indecent and Obscene saw the light of day. All this time the band soldiered on through, with some perceiving their late 90s as down and mediocre years. Never me, as Dismember always remained my personal sentimental favorites, Massive Killing Capacity and Death Metal (how is that for a statement title) getting as much play in my various audios as the early classics. Not regeneration, but rejuvenation began with 2004 Where Ironcrosses Grow and continued when the band finally found the fitting place on the homey Swedish Regain Records. The God That Never Was saw Dismember just as vile as when they were the young pups, but now, as the grey colored their hair, harmonies and melody crept into their music. Writing a review intro as a bio is the worst thing any reviewer can do, so I’ll quit here and just say this. If you are not familiar with Dismember by now, you are hopelessly lost for death metal. For those on board with me, the band, having now further lost the one third of the founding axis Karki-Blomquist-Estby in the form of the long-time drummer and songwriter Estby, hereby delivers a combination of hammering heavy death metal, nods to the thrash and NWOBHM roots with little smatterings of those instantly recognizable melodies. In short, Dismember did not change, long live Dismember!

To be perfectly honest, not everything is 100% mindblowing on this record, and the band does go through the motions somewhat in this, their 8th full-length release. To remove all doubt, however, as to who is still sitting atop the Swedish death metal throne Dismember waste no time to plunge right away into their trademark fast riffing with Death Conquers All. The band’s sound - what subjugated my listening senses way back – remains true to form, savage, tubed out, bass heavy, distorted, buzzsaw guitar oriented goodness. Under a Bloodred Sky and To End It All are a couple of more old-school certifiable hits. Both songs have this sacred, not to be messed with melodic hook in their chorus, both provide harmonized solos, which show that Dismember can both shred uncontrollably and be clean and technical when they want to be. Under a Bloodred Sky has a one and a half minute instrumental section towards the end, the rhythmic gallop of Maiden with unbelievable original Dismember guitar inflections. Opening of the Tide of Blood is another thumbs up to a NWOBHM riffing style, with chorus screaming Bay Area thrash. Repeating riffs (Combat Fatigue) throughout the song or not, Dismember is going full bore on many an occasion here, pulverizing and destroying everything in the path of their balls-to-the-wall attitude.

A few moments could have been made better, no question. Europa Burns and No Honor in Death are sluggish, heavy and chunky, meandering under the weight of their own riffs, the grime and ugliness rubbing into the skin without a chance of being washed out. Maybe it was the intent, with the song like Europa Burns recalling World War I. I have always fantasized about Dismember being these anti-war activists, their texts giving such an honest, if gory, picture of war, you almost did not want to have one started, if you listened to the Swedes long enough. The Hills Have Eyes has the extra mocking twist in its main riff, but more is left to be desired. Legion is a pissed off, angry, Christians-better-run-for-cover song which was more fitting to, say, Marduk, song title hinting. I wish the transitions between the end of the world gloom of Black Sun and its melodic shred were smoother too.

Yet, all of these little quibbles wither away in the face of the power and conviction with which Dismember still operates after all these years. Matti Karki is angry more than ever before, his barking growl roars in front of the mix. Guitars carry the day, buzz, hum and resonate along. Even the drum production is meatier than on many of the old records. Dismember the album is definitely a little less melodic than its predecessor, but one thing Dismember the band will never do is trade away their death metal dignity for broader acceptance and larger sales. There is no compromise in these guys and they will never give in. For that, and for still being able to badger my ears and firmly hold my ass in front of the speakers listening to the aural assault – my hat is off to them!

Killing Songs :
Death Conquers All, Under a Bloodred Sky, To End It All
Alex quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Dismember that we have reviewed:
Dismember - Like an Everflowing Stream reviewed by Tony and quoted CLASSIC
Dismember - The God That Never Was reviewed by Alex and quoted 87 / 100
Dismember - Where Ironcrosses Grow reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Dismember - Massive Killing Capacity reviewed by Alex and quoted 92 / 100
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