Released : July 1997
Recorded : October - November 1996
Genre : Death metal
Label : Nuclear Records
Dismember was the shit back in the old days of death metal. You couldn’t beat that tormented Swedish tone and that trademark chainsaw guitar tone, with bands like Entombed and Grave also trying to take the top spot. Dismember are one of the more well known ones from the scene, yet they started out as high school kids. By the time this EP was released, they were grown men who went through a few albums already and found themselves in a slump that they’d only begin to identify.
As for this EP, it’s a little of both worlds, with the tone of the old school sound and a direction that could be characterized as tame. You wouldn’t get that from the blazing opening track that sounds like the same kind of material from The God That Never Was, though. The production is very advantageous for the guitars, which are incredibly loud and muffled with that chainsaw guitar tone a bit thin but still up front. Those raw riffs just thrive off the nastiest bit of Sweden’s crusty rhythm formulas, yet they still manage to be melodic and a tad catchy without treading into Gothenburg territory. My complaint is that bass support isn’t as high as I’d like – there isn’t enough of it to give the guitars a threateningly thick backing like on the early albums. Here the bass is just there with small backing, though the Autopsy cover is the loudest with deafening grumbles – but that’s one track out of five.
Speaking of the Autopsy cover, this is where the guitars get very muffled and begin running around in circles. I’m not too well-versed on the song even though I know it, but it does pick up with the doomy-slow riffs that crush my skull. Otherwise the band is playing faster tempo songs with genuine anger, unlike that other EP that came before this (that will not be named because it’s a piece of shit). Whereas that EP was stupid death and roll, the riffs here are sinister and remorseless – just how I like my death metal. The vocals by Karki are back to the sickly growls from a mutilated throat – roars from the hell that make you gulp in fear. Drumming is a bit tinny with the snares and cymbals, and the drum bass isn’t too loud, but Estby has always laid down some pulverizing blast beats and never gives up on the speed (he doesn’t sound very tough here).
As the EP progresses it just gets better and starts leaning close to melodic death metal. The harmonized leads are still grand and the riffs overthrow any optimism you had going into this, as it’s filled with decay and repentance. The band’s performance is still high while the time setting would say otherwise about Dismember’s output. Nonetheless, give it a go and check out some awesome songs like “Shadowlands” and “Afterimage” (badass solo on the latter!). Can’t go too wrong with this EP, so don’t leave it in the dust.
2. Pagan Saviour