Apparently, Dismember has been around since 1988. It strikes me as unjust, as I have not heard this band's name mentioned until recently. Dismember never achieved the kind of recognition as fellow Swedes Entombed, although both were formed in Stockholm and share a similar style of Death/Thrash Metal. The God That Never is the seventh full length released by Dismember.
The God that Never Was
David Blomqvist " Guitars (ex-Entombed)
Martin Persson " Guitars
Fred Estby " Drums
Matti K"rki " Vocals
It should be obvious what kind of music Dismember plays from the name alone. The God That Never Was is built upon a foundation of straight ahead Death Metal. This album is not some worn out, nostalgic excrement. Dismember does not subject the listener to a redundant retread of the genre. The music is passionate, aggressive, and, most of all, memorable. Dismember builds upon a solid base of Death Metal, infusing it with vicious personality.
The music on The God That Never Was is a visceral reminder of how to construct heavy music. Each instrument, including the vocals, spews forth torrents of vitriol and malevolence. The guitars are especially noteworthy. David Blomqvis and Martin Persson weave howling leads over a base of shattering rhythms. Tremolo picking abounds in the riffing. The rhythm parts are all well crafted, never seeming repetitive, always seeming to herald imminent evisceration. However, it is the sense of melody that separates Dismember from other bands. The leads are reminiscent of New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands, especially Iron Maiden, as well as melodic death metal bands, such as In Flames. This sense of melody is especially prevalent on the instrumental track "Phantoms (of the Oath)". The song begins with a furious, tremolo picked passage, before moving into a sublime melodic passage, complete with harmonized leads. It then shifts into a galloping section, with scorching, Iron Maiden influenced leads and a climactic, flesh lacerating solo. Songs like this keep me listening to metal.
Matti K"rki delivers mid-range, Death vocals with skill and passion. He will throw in the occasional throat-rending scream, as he does towards the end of "Blood for Paradise." These serve to break up his delivery and accent certain parts of the song, but they are not frequent. Blomqvis and Persson provide the bass work for the album. It is well executed, serving to fill out the aural assault of the guitars, but it seldom does more than roar along with the guitars. A dedicated bassist might have increased the level of diversity inherent in the bass riffs. Estby"s performance behind the kit is exemplary. His drum patterns drive Dismember"s sound through all tempos and levels of intensity, inserting fills where necessary. His work is generally aggressive, yet he does not resort to mindlessly tearing through blast beats. Estby also provided the production. Each instrument has an appropriate level of clarity in the mix, even the bass can usually be picked out. The music does not feel overproduced, it has an organic feel, but it is not raw. Etsby has been doing this for a while though, so it is not surprising that his production fits Dismember"s sound extremely well. (The guitar tone is so good, for both rhythm and leads)
Every song on The God That Never Was is well crafted. "Shadows of the Mutilated" opens with some quick chords, followed by a tremolo picked riff and one of K"rki"s hellish screams. What sounds like low, sinister laughter, followed by a rising, inhalation-like noise, propels the song into the chorus. The solo, like all the solos actually, slays. "Time Heals Nothing" is classic Dismember. It has an incredibly melodic, Gothenburg "like chorus. Add to that another stunning solo and you have a definite highlight. "Feel the Darkness" is a sinister, mid-tempo track. It begins with some strummed chords, coupled with a nice bass riff. Actually, the bass stands out nicely on this song. The band proceeds to lay down a nice, driving groove, before launching into the chorus and an almost spoken word bit. The outro has an interesting riff containing some trills that is repeated a few times. These songs are currently my favorites, but the more I listen to the album, the more my favored tracks shift. Every song is worthwhile.
With The God That Never Was, Dismember proves beyond any doubt that they belong amongst the elite overlords of Death Metal. The band has put together an album full of melody, which retains its brutality. Dismember focuses on designing memorable songs, without sacrificing technical aspects. Overall, I would recommend this album to anyone who is interested in the heavier side of music. An early candidate for my favorite of 2006, and it continues to grow on me. This receives full marks, it might even act as a gateway into extreme music for some via its melodic side. 5/5
(The lyrics and cover art are incredible as well)