Saturday, December 15, 2012


Dismember - Hate Campaign
Nuclear Blast, 2000
Genre: Death Metal

1. Suicidal Revelations
2. Questionable Ethics
3. Beyond Good & Evil
4. Retaliate
5. Enslaved to Bitterness
6. Mutual Animosity
7. Patrol 17
8. Thanatology
9. Bleeding Over
10. In Death's Cold Embrace
11. Hate Campaign

I bet after hearing “Death Metal’ people were expecting a heavier drive into the Melodic Death Metal realm.  Well “Hate Campaign” doesn’t really do that!  Sure some songs are very melodic, but it doesn’t feel like the same kind they were performing before.  I think one of the major reasons for this is the change in the line-up.

Richard Cabeza has left the band and if you look at the prior material he was a major force in writing since he wrote a large portion of the songs.  He has been replaced by the legendary Sharlee D’angelo on bass for this recording.  However, Sharlee did not write any of the songs.  Strangely his bass playing isn’t as prominent in Dismember as it has been in other bands.  They also lost long time guitarist Robert Sennebäck on guitar to be replaced by Magnus Sahlgren, who has immediately started to compose material for this album.  It seems Estby was a jack of all trades for this album.  He had a hand in composing most of the songs, but “Hate Campaign” was produced and recorded by him as well!  This is the first album I’ll say that sounds a little cleaner.  The guitar tone is still quite heavy, as we’d expect from their brand of Death Metal, but they don’t sound as gritty.  Some may consider this a good thing, but I kind of liked that edge in their music.

The blending of their Death Metal and melody is a lot more seamless on “Hate Campaign.”  Where they always split them on the prior two, we have all the sounds blended here.  This is probably due to the involvement of the entire band composing these days.  I would say the Death Metal factor superseded the melodic factor on this album.  Each song is primarily a Death Metal song with touches of melody in its structure here and there.  Before if they were writing a Melodic Death Metal song it was a full on Melodic song with the brutal playing of the Death Metal taking a back seat.  This is not so for “Hate Campaign”.

So if you’ve always wanted the Melodic Death Metal sound a little lighter in the mix for their sound like in the earlier days, then “Hate Campaign” returns to that kind of a concept.  Albeit it’s a little more cleaned up production wise, but I don’t think that overly hurt the album any, nor did it really add to it either.  I guess that means Dismember can pull off quality sound regardless with what equipment they’re given to use.

Dismember - Death Metal
Nuclear Blast, 1997
Genre: Death Metal

1. Of Fire
2. Trendkiller
3. Misanthropic
4. Let the Napalm Rain
5. Live for the Fear (Of Pain)
6. Stillborn Ways
7. Killing Compassion
8. Bred for War
9. When Hatred Killed the Light
10. Ceremonial Comedy
11. Silent are the Watchers
12. Mistweaver

A lot of people consider this album Dismember’s crowning achievement.  While I don’t presume that I fall into this category, this is still a very solid album.  This definitely follows the progression we started to see forming on “Massive Killing Capacity” and got a serious taste of on “Misanthropic”.  On a plus note, I would say the arrangement of the tracks was done much better than we found on “Massive Killing Capacity”.

Dismember really hasn’t gone to the level where they are blending their Melodic Death Metal with their more straight forward Death Metal, for on this album they are kept strikingly separated.  However, where on “Massive Killing Capacity” it was sort of split into halves here it split in a different fashion.  For example “Of Fire” kicks the album off with a Melodic Death Metal song and then “Trendkiller” follows it up with a grittier more straightforward Death Metal song.  The album continues in this fashion throughout the entire play.

If I were asked to describe this album overall, I would say it’s probably a blend between “Indecent & Obscene” and “Massive Killing Capacity”.  However, the one element that has changed drastically from “Massive Killing Capacity” is that the songs no longer bear that Rock styled infusion I spoke of before.  The Death Metal tracks on “Death Metal” are far more akin to “Indecent & Obscene” on a compositional level.  They’re gritty, they’re heavy and they’re great.  With every other track being a Melodic Death Metal song, akin to what was started on “Massive Killing Capacity”, it makes for a relatively interesting listen overall.  I can definitely see why a lot of people feel this album is Dismember’s pinnacle.  However, the Melodic Death Metal they’re playing is really only unique because the Dismember tone hasn’t changed.  Other than that it feels like a blending with Edge of Sanity as I mentioned on my “Misanthropic” review.  This isn’t a bad thing by any means.  Some of the tracks bear blatant At the Gates melodic methods and maybe it’s just me, but the way some of the melodic progressions work up a scale is vaguely reminiscent of Megadeth on some levels. 

Other than that everything else is pretty much the same as before.  Same vocal approach (I wouldn’t have it any other way personally) and the same ultra heavy guitar and bass tone that we’ve grown to love.  The drums are the same as usual, but at this point changing Dismember’s drum arrangements would probably do a disservice to their particular style.  Fred Estby remains the perfect man to have behind the kit to keep the beat driving.

All in all, this is an incredible album.  In fact it’s one that will probably hold legendary status for years to come.  For when someone asks for a Dismember album recommendation most people will say two words “Death Metal”.  Personally, I’ve always enjoyed “Like an Everflowing Stream”, but this album is, nonetheless, quite superb in it’s own right.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to just start getting into the genre or just trying to get into Dismember in general, it’s probably their most accessible album to bring people into Dismember’s world.

Dismember - Pieces (Re-release)
Regain Records, 2005
Genre Death Metal

1. Intro
2. Pieces
3. I Wish You Hell
4. Carnal Tomb
5. Soon to Be Dead
6. Torn Apart (Carnage Cover)
Live in Stockholm, 1993 (Bonus)
7. Pieces
8. Reborn in Blasphemy
9. Overide
10. Carnal Tomb
11. Skin Her Alive
12. Case # Obscene
13. I Wish You Hell
14. Bleed for Me
15. Deranged from Blood

After the monumental release of “Like an Everflowing Stream” Dismember quickly followed it up with the Ep “Pieces.”  Naturally if you enjoyed the debut album there’s no reason not to enjoy “Pieces.”  I just figure Dismember might have been overflowing with material which warranted the pressing of an Ep.

These kinds of albums are usually very hard to review because they usually don’t deviate much from the full lengths, but I can see how some of these songs may not have fit with “Like an Everflowing Stream”.  The title track “Pieces” seems even heavier than what is available on the debut and “Carnal Tomb” has some very different guitar licks that didn’t exactly mesh with the flow.  However, those kinds of concepts can be ignored for an Ep!  So “Pieces” gives a little bit of a different taste of Dismember and their multiple facets.  The collection of songs on here is not nearly as melodic as found on the debut, but they’re a lot more straight forward and ferocious.  For one, I enjoyed what Dismember gave me on here.

On the re-release for “Pieces” we get a recording of a live show Dismember played in 1993.  Despite what the track listing says, that “Torn Apart” track isn’t the opening song for their live set, it’s definitely a studio recording because the production between that song and “Pieces” changes drastically.  I thought it seemed kind of odd they would open with a Carnage cover anyway.  With that realization it makes it weird that they had the same Carnage cover available on the repress of both the debut and this release.  Regardless, the live tracks are actually pretty decent for a 1993 recording.  Sure the production isn’t that good and the guitars are hard to hear at times, but it really gives you a feel for what it would be like to hear Dismember during the early 90’s.  It should be noted that some of the songs played live are from “Indecent & Obscene” because that was released at the time.  So I definitely think this was a good way to add onto the re-release of this.

Finally… what more can I say about Dismember?  They’re a quality band.  Honestly, as long as they’re playing Death Metal of this caliber I’ll be a listener… and a happy one at that.  If you’re looking for Death Metal that isn’t entirely focused on speed, but rather catching their listener with intoxicating and heavy riffs, then you can’t really go wrong with Dismember!

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