Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dismember - Like An Everflowing Stream (1991)

Although many folks persist on placing them alongside the likes of Entombed as far as the influence of Swedish death metal is concerned, I've always felt that Dismember were second tier. Had Carnage remained an active entity, I would have no qualm whatsoever replacing them with Dismember as far as their iconic status is concerned. Unfortunately, Carnage long ago disbanded,  unleashing Dismember in their stead and although I have nothing against Dismember, I always felt that they were lacking that extra bit of mojo that made Entombed such a monolith to remember. It's as if Dismember happened to be at the right place at the right time whilst others of their ilk just couldn't seem to get their shit together, such as Crematory or Crypt of Kerberos, both of whom I feel are infinitely better.

As an impressionable teen in high school, I nonetheless marveled at the band's legendary publicity shots covered in blood and adorned in inverted crosses the size of church steeples, not to mention the killer album cover courtesy of then go-to guy, Dan Seagrave. Having seen these images before actually listening to the band's music, it's needless to say that I had high hopes for what they were capable of, sonically speaking. I must also mention that 'Like an Everflowing Stream' is one of the greatest album titles in the history of death metal, far outshining any reference to gore or satanism that had already been done to death by that time.

The beginning riff of 'Override the Overture' is, to this day, one of the classic rhythmic sequences that I will cherish to the grave. Unfortunately though, I began to notice the quality spiral ever so slightly downward as the album played on. It wasn't that the album was necessarily bad, nor was it lacking any of the elements that comprise your typical experience through death metal land, but... aha... that's it... "typical". This was nothing more than a typical death metal album, er, "Swedish" style, that is! There were no doomy drop offs into some hideously creepy subconscious netherworld, nor were there any obscene bouts of blast beat retardation. This was merely shaping up to be an average, run of the mill death metal album. I can pretty much say that that has been the case throughout the band's career and apparently they themselves have wised up to the fact as they eventually turned in their pink slips.

Ironically enough, the one song that I felt was the "standout" track is actually a Carnage cover (Death Evocation), of course I'm a sucker for processed vocal spewage and the bonus track 'Defective Decay' is also a winner, but alas, at the end of the day I usually end up skipping over this and going for my copy of 'Dark Recollections' when I wish to reminisce the days of old.

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