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Dismember - The God That Never Was

Label: Candlelight
Format: CD
Released: 2006
Reviewed By: The Goat

Dismember is back!

OK, they've been back since 2004 when "Where the Ironcrosses Grow" came out. Ironcrosses was their climactic return after a four year hiatus. What a return to form that album was. It was a destructive return to the early 1990 era of Swedish Death Metal, where Gothenberg meant you sounded like Entombed, Dismember, or Desultory. I followed Dismember up until "Hate Campaign".


I regret to admit that I failed to add "Hate Campaign" to my collection (which I might add, will soon be remedied). After "Death Metal" (an album that lived up to its name in its entirety like Exhumed's "Gore Metal" or the legendary Venom album "Black Metal" that corpse painted a thousand faces), I had gotten distracted by other styles and did not follow the Swedes as closely.

Dismember always struck me as being the dangerous twin brother to Entombed. The darker twin that wasn't afraid to poke the road kill on the side of the road and then flick maggots at you. Not that Entombed were any choirboys, but Dismember seemed to go in the places that Entombed stopped short of (the cover art of "Indecent & Obscene" should be evidence of that). When Entombed tried to do something 'alternative' (the awful "Same Difference" album), Dismember stayed true to the course.

While comparisons may remain between Entombed and Dismember, I have always thought that Matti Krki's vocals were more urgent in their delivery than L. G. Petrov's (Entombed's vocalist). He always seems like he is going to bite you if you don't actually pay attention to him. Fred Estby's drumming is always brutal and frantic like he wants to bash your head in if he could just takes some time away from the prodcution booth. David Blomqvist (guitar) is probably the least known member but he has been with Estby and Karki from the early days. The addition of Martin Persson (guitar) and Tobias Christiansson (bass) to the unholy trinity of Estby, K rki, and Blomqvist adds a melodic edge at times to the solos. The solos are somewhat graceful as they dance in the brutal rhythms. The instrumental ‘Phantoms (of the Oath)’ is worth the price of admission alone.

In addition to being a relentless drummer, Fred Estby is an amazing producer. I think it would be fair to say that Tomas Skogsberg and Fred Estby are probably the responsible parties for the pre-At The Gates "Slaughter of the Soul" Gothenburg sound. There was something rough and raw about how their production hit the ears. You can hear the menace and the distinctive bounce of the rhythm is instantly recognizable as their touch. Many have tried to copy it but few have managed to truly match it (Chaosbreed Brutal is the key exception in my mind). Over the years, the Skogsberg/Estby sound has stayed central to the Dismember attack.

As an album, "The God That Never Was" meets expectations. It holds no surprises for the listener (other than the guitar solos). There are no experimental explorations in the sound. There are no dramatic changes like clean vocals or nu-metal posturings. "The God" stays true to the continuity of Dismember's previous albums, ensuring an awesome live show. As I listened to this album, I was mentally transported to when I first discovered Dismember. It is an extremely impressive feat, in this time of poor attention spans that we live, to maintain such an edge and sound. This one is definitely for the fans (for a good accessible Dismember album to start with, I would recommend "Massive Killing Capacity").

I think the populace is ready for Dismember. The At The Gates Gothenberg sound has permeated the metal community in enough corners of the globe that I think it is time for the Dismember groove to influence some youngsters. Take note all you guitar practicing metalheads, I want to hear the next wave of metalcore bands to sound like Dismember.

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