Review Summary: Essential Swedish death.
A while ago, on this site, I was recommended an album by a band that I knew little about, Like an Ever Flowing Stream
by Dismember. Well, foolishly I looked at the name of the band (talk about judging a book by its cover) and I dismissed them as another "Br00tal" excuse for death metal (think Suicide Silence and Bring Me the Horizon). Needless to say, that was one of the less intelligent things I've ever done on the site. Checking the ratings for Dismember, I noticed that the average rating for this album was sky-high, so my common-sense told me to check them out again. Wow, have my thoughts changed, not only is Dismember one of the greater death metal bands of all time, they've been doing it for going on 20 years now, and the majority of that material has all been top-notch stuff (this album, 1993's Indecent and Obscene
, 2004's Where Ironcrosses Grow
, and 2006's The God That Never Was
, were all the most immediately enjoyable material). Humbled by my stupidity, I now enjoy Like an Ever Flowing Stream
Ominous sounds and crashes begin the album as the first song comes over the speakers. Suddenly, a lightning fast riff screeches through the air as the album roars into gear. This song is called "Override of the Overture", and it shows what is to come. The trio of guitarists, David Blomqvist, Robert Senneback, and Nicke Andersson (then drummer for Entombed), absolutely blaze throughout the album, creating riff after brisk riff (check "Soon to Be Dead" and "Skin Her Alive" for pure shots of adrenaline, with the latter containing a hell-hash of swirling licks) while also incorporating melody. Solos are also prolific throughout the album, with many of the songs containing more than one flashy performance. Many of them are quite varied in their deliveries, with the beginning of "And So Is Life" containing a distinct rock-and-roll groove to it and others being pure melodic shred that could fall a forest. Vocalist Matti Kärki's howling grunt is evident throughout the album, with one of the most brutal segments coming in "Skin Her Alive", when he barks, "SKIN HER F**KING ALIVE!!" with such ferocity it gives you frightening chills as if he was really doing what the song is titled. Lyrics throughout the album are typical death metal lyrics with lines like "Hacking through your organs" and "Maggots crawl in your flesh", however, Matti spits them out with such viciousness and savagery that you are convinced you're on a ride to hell. A truly encompassing vocal performance. Drummer Fred Estby delivers a pounding performance as his swift fills and unrelenting rapidness push the album forward. Bassist Richard Diamon is somewhat lost in the mix, at times, as he is lost within the violent tornado of guitar ingenuity and possessed vocals. He still provides a thick underbelly for the guitarists to bounce off of and churn out their magic.
Bad songs on this album are nonexistent, every song is either a rapid-fire thrash fest or a melodic yet still hasty showing. If I had to choose a clear stand out, it would most likely go to "In Death's Sleep", which begins with a sinister tone and spoken words speaking "From dream to dream, we have always been, Like an ever flowing stream", then it transitions into a highly melodic, airy thrasher. At about two minutes in, an absolutely demonic sound is unleashed and chills to the bone and beyond. The lyrics in this song also are above much of the album in terms of quality. Everything in this track, from the wizardry of the solos, to the transitions between melody and brutality, is perfect and shows the genius of the album to the very core. Other extremely rigid tracks include the very similar to the aforementioned song album opening "Override of the Overture" and the band title track, "Dismembered", the pounding rage of "Skin Her Alive", the rushing of "Sickening Art" and the groove of "And So Is Life". Really, the entire album is a terrific showing and contains no skip-material, a dominating performance overall.
Like an Ever Flowing Stream
is a classic of the death metal genre, outdone by few. 12 tracks of mind-numbing intensity. Its combination of crushing vocals, buzzing riffs containing the speed of Slayer and the melody of At the Gates, terrific solos, and thunderous drumming is top-notch and is maintained throughout the album and never relents. The blasting sounds of the album often overwhelm the senses and send a shiver down the spine. Obviously, I was VERY wrong in misjudging this album so poorly, as it is one of the best extreme metal albums of all time. For all fans of death metal, pick this up now, I dare you to not enjoy it. Like an Ever Flowing Stream
gets a 5 out of 5.