What can a band do when their main member and songwriter is behind bars for murder? Not much, really. Such has been the case that has plagued the infamous underground black metal band Dissection. They have released some extremely fine albums within the genre in their short career as a band. Storm of the Light's Bane has been said by many to be one, if not the best album within the black metal genre. After all of this greatness in the early 90s, it all came to an end when vocalist and guitar player Jon Nödtveidt was arrested for murder and put into prison until he was released in 2004.
What did he do while he was within the prison walls? Jon actually wrote plenty of songs, and some Dissection fans have heard one of them by the name of "Maha Kali". It didn't impress many due to the fact that it didn't sound a thing like their older material. While this did bother me a ton at first, after a few listens I have learned to appreciate the new sound and enjoy it for what it is. Enter the world of...
Dissection on this album was:
Jon Nödtveidt - Vocals & Guitars
Set Teitan - Guitars & Backing Vocals
Tomas Asklund - Battery
What was good about the album:
-- First things first, it's very exciting to hear my favorite black metal band playing yet again, even if they don't sound a thing like they used to.
-- One thing that you'll notice immediately is that the band's production quality has improved quite a bit since their earlier days when they were making black metal. This may bother some people because black metal afficionados love that style of production, but I can't say that I'm really into it. The guitar riffs used to be unintelligible at times and the vocals seemed distant and loaded with reverb. Now that is all gone and the guitar tone is great and the vocals are clear.
-- As far as guitar riffs go, it's a fairly solid album. Jon obviously spent plenty of time writing these songs, and it certainly shows. There are plenty of enjoyable and even catchy riffs that are worth listening to multiple times in a row even. There is also the presence of guitar solos in this album which will appeal to many, although not the black metal fans.
-- Jon's lyrics, while some may call them cheesy, are pretty sweet. His style of writing is just the way I like my metal lyrics: dark, hateful, and often fantasy based. It's quite a treat to listen to him scream out some of the lyrics in songs like "Black Dragon" and "Dark Mother Divine".
What was bad about the album:
-- As this would seem rather obvious, the band doesn't sound at all like they did in their black metal days. They're now an almost Gothenburg sound, similar to that of In Flames or At the Gates. This has infuriated many old Dissection fans and has even made some fans not want to pick up the album. While I'm open to the new sound, I must say that I'm dissapointed that they didn't make more of the melodic black metal that they did so well at making.
-- If you looked up at the member listing earlier, you'd notice that there was an obvious absence of a bass player. Now that they're not playing black metal anymore, it would make sense for them to pick one up. If they wrote some great grooves then the band could probably be taken to new heights and open their sound up to more metal fans. It's not too much of a setback, but I'm always bummed out when metal bands don't use bass players.
-- The guitar riffs, while often being good, are too catchy at times, especially for a Dissection album. Their albums are loaded with Satanic hatred and dark fantasy, so hearing melodic riffs that could be potentially used in a In Flames or even Trivium song seems rather out of place. The combination of the two is probably another reason why some fans wouldn't like it.
Beyond the Horizon
-- Another Dissection album, finally
-- Good production quality
-- Solid guitar riffs and solos
-- Pretty good and interesting lyrics
-- A totally different sound
-- Riffs can seem out of place
-- Lyrics can seem out of place
Final Rating: 3/5 - A good release. It's not essential to your metal collection, but worth a listen.