Review Summary: Classic Dissection material, what more can you ask for?
I'm one of those people who simply has to have the original pressing of every album. I'm not a fan of re-releases or compilations, I want the original recorded material, nothing re-mastered or with worthless bonus tracks and cover songs thrown onto the end. I've been in kind of an ongoing search for esteemed Swedish Melodic Black Metal band Dissection's
first two, and extremely rare, demos entitled Into Infinite Obscurity
and The Grief Prophecy
. I've searched eBay, Amazon, and the four music stores near my house constantly for the past year looking for these albums, with no success. However, I was in one of the music stores last week and I noticed two albums which caught my eye. In the used CD section, I found an original pressing of 1993's The Somberlain
, and another Dissection
album I hadn't seen before. That album was a compilation of songs from both Into Infinite Obscurity
and The Grief Prophecy
, as well as tracks from the promo album for The Somberlain
. Also included on here are two interesting tracks from a side project in which frontman Jon Nodtveidt played in entitled Satanized
. Being the crazy Dissection
fan which I am, I bought both albums with haste.
While I have heard most of the songs on here before, I thought it would be great to hear the demo versions of them, since they are usually a bit different and are always really interesting to listen to. The production is pretty bad, yes, but I'm not one to complain, especially since this is Black Metal. In fact, in most of the songs the production (or lack thereof) brings out the underlying rawness in Dissection's
sound, much unlike the well produced albums which followed in their career. The songs which were on the promo for The Somberlain
are shorter than they turned out to be on the official release of the album. All 11 tracks clock in at a total time of just over 34 minutes, which goes to show you how much material was added to the songs. Even with the relatively terrible production and the somewhat short track lengths, the album is an awesome look at classic Dissection
material from back when they were playing their best stuff.
As I stated before, the production brings out the rawness of the guitars, something you notice more or less immediately as the first track “Shadows Over A Lost Kingdom” begins. However, the riffs are jaw-dropping. Take a listen to that opening riff in “Shadows Over A Lost Kingdom” and tell me that isn’t the stuff which Dissection
is so famed for. It’s simple, raw, unrelenting, and melodic, something which doesn’t end with the first track. “Frozen” is a prime example of Dissection’s
fantastic fusion of Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal, with Nodtveidt’s vocals echoing behind that awesome riffing and Ole Ohman’s drumming, which earns it’s title of “Battery”. Not everything is melodic and graceful though, “Son Of The Mourning” is more brutal and straight forward, with a fast, heavy riff opening it up and continuing for the entire song. We are also treated to the fantastic, soothing acoustic guitar on the two instrumentals “Into Infinite Obscurity” and “Feathers Fell”. I love the way the production allows for the squeaking of the acoustic guitar to show through, it makes it sound more natural and calming. As always, the brutal battery of Ole Ohman is always present in the songs, and here the drumming is much more prominent than it was on their studio albums, with the snare having a distinct snap and the bass drum having a very thunderous bang.
The vocals of Jon Nodtveidt are much different than what I was used to from him. Aside from his usual Black Metal voice, which has that awesome echo effect which makes them sound distant and more pure, he makes some awesome Death Metal growls which are much lower, the prime example being in the song “Son Of The Mourning”, which is more of a straight up Death Metal song, not Black Metal. However, his main weapon is still his Black Metal voice, one which is still my favorite of the genre and possibly all of metal.
Included at the end is an extremely rare rehearsal of a side project of Nodtveidt called Satanized
. They play a insane mix of Black and Death Metal, with no melody at all. The production on these tracks is up there with the worst I've ever heard. Often times it is hard to hear what the hell is going on, because the vocals are awash in the sea of the overbearing drums and the grinding guitars. Bass? Forget it. I couldn't even tell they had a bass guitarist. All of this aside though, and you have a pretty cool listen to an unknown band which only released a few rehearsal tapes and then collapsed. From what I heard of the vocals they are more pointed toward Black Metal than Death Metal, and the guitars play a good mix of both genres. Hell, Nodtveidt even lets a solo or two go. The songs are both under 3 minutes, but it's a good listen if you'd like to hear another band which he was involved in.
All in all this album is an automatic buy for any big Dissection fan such as myself. It may be hard to find in a store, but I'm sure it's possible to buy it online, and it's definitely easier to find than the two demos by themselves. While this album hasn't ended my search for those two original recordings, this has quenched my thirst for more Dissection material, because I know there will never be another album by this legendary band.