I've always firmly believed that reviewers should stay in the background, and that excessive use of "I" and "me" in a review is bullshit — talk about the album, not yourself. That said, I have to express the doubts I have about critiquing a new DISSECTION record. I've never been faced with the fact that my work is publicizing the art of a convicted murderer — one proud enough of his six years' "hard time" to boast in the liner notes that "Reinkaos" was "written behind prison walls." Why not go whole hog, man? A DVD bonus track of Jon Nödtveidt actually committing murder? First 500 copies daubed with the blood of his victim? Maybe liner notes written by a grieving family member?
For the record, then: I wouldn't piss on Nödtveidt if he was on fire, and I wish I believed in a Hell awful enough to stuff an eternity's worth of karmic retribution up his hateful, cowardly ass. That pathetic jail sentence is enough to make me wonder if maybe Ted Nugent is right about a few things, after all. And the thought of an unrepentant Nödtveidt traveling the world, playing shows for enthused audiences, makes me sick to my stomach. If that makes me some sort of weak, non-metal pussy in your eyes, so be it.
However, some of the worst people make some of the best music, apparently, and DISSECTION came by their reputation as metal legends honestly. It would be a disservice to this forum not to review the album, especially given the importance of previous albums "The Somberlain" and "Storm of the Lights Bane" to the black metal world.
And after all that — the record is crap.
Okay, it's not complete crap — if "Reinkaos" was a new effort from a melodic death metal band, overtly and proudly influenced by early IN FLAMES and SENTENCED, it would be easier to take, and perhaps enjoyable in a third-tier sort of way. But as it stands, this is the ruination of a band name unparalleled since METALLICA shat out the Black Album.
You know you're in trouble right away, when intro "Nexion 218" leads not into panoramic riffing, insane blasts and melodic, soaring leads, but a straightforward, slow, thoroughly unremarkable drumbeat. The riffs have an almost commercial feel to them, with predictable vocal patterns and a very "rock and roll" vibe that has nothing to do with the band's past.
And "Beyond the Horizon" is actually a high point — it gets weirder, and worse. "Dark Mother Divine" is simple, stripped down Swedish death-and-roll pablum, inoffensive and rather boring, with harsh vocals and nondescript melodic background music, sounding like something fished from SENTENCED's garbage can. The short, relatively upbeat "Xeper-I-Set" may bring faint hope that the good stuff is finally starting, but it's a scant three minutes, followed by an acoustic interlude and yet another plodding, plunky melodic death turd ("God of Forbidden Light").
All the hallmarks of a slapped-together release are present on "Reinkaos" — short interludes listed as separate tracks, extended instrumental passages, and most tellingly, boring songs. A stylistic change wouldn't have been the end of the world for DISSECTION, had it been done with some grace or class. As it is, none of the songs here are even catchy, which would have made the band's dumbing-down at least make sense. We're left with dull, dated sounding Swede-metal castoffs released under a wholly inappropriate name — is it any wonder the reaction to "Reinkaos" has been largely negative, or that Nödtveidt has recently announced that the group will disband after some final live shows?
Maybe Nödtveidt got a little karmic ass-whuppin' after all. He came out of prison with no idea how to live up to the awesome legacy of his former band, so he threw together this ridiculous death-rock travesty, and the reaction to it has been bad enough to kill off the one thing he had going for him in life. As karmic retribution goes, it's not as satisfying to watch as, say, drawing and quartering, or a lifetime of boils and plagues… but it's about as good as we could hope for here in the real world. Good riddance, scumbag.
- Keith Bergman