It's 2008 and we're still blessed with old-school Swedish death metal albums that are as unrelenting and defiantly anti-trend as the new DISMEMBER long player. How appropriate that the band chose to go with a self-titled release, as the album is definitive DISMEMBER in every sense of the word, more so than the two previous releases, "The God that Never Was" and "Where Iron Crosses Grow", both strong releases in their own right. Forget about sound expansion or stylistic detours; crank this one up and you'll feel as though you're back in 1995 soaking up every blood-drenched lyric and bludgeoning beat.
I was actually surprised at how vintage the new disc sounds. The difference is that over the last three albums DISMEMBER have upped their songwriting efforts to make the tunes more memorable. On "The God that Never Was" the guitar harmonies seemed to leap out of the mix, juxtaposed against the low-end ugliness of it all. The new release sees the band reining in those parts a bit; allowing them to flow more seamlessly with the mud covered filth of the central arrangements. There is something more primal about this album, almost as though the band was sending a message that DISMEMBER continues to be one of the few acts that can truly be called old school Swedish death metal, complete with that classic motoring buzz and AUTOPSY-heaviness of the Sunlight Studios sound. Matti KÃ¤rki clearly hasn't discontinued the practice of gargling with broken glass before a vocal performance. Is there any vocalist that delivers death metal like he does? As for highlights, take your pick, although "Europa Burns" stands out as a track that is sure to be a staple of the live set for years to come, while "Legion" is a speed-driven stomping beast of a track that will knock the plaster off the ceiling.
You can read phrases like "True Swedish Death Metal" on any number of lesser releases, but DISMEMBER is one of the few bands that can truly lay claim to it. Along with UNLEASHED and ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER continue to be untouchable when it comes to this kind of breakneck, no holds barred death metal. You cannot possibly go wrong with this album.