Dismember - The God That Never Was - Candlelight Records 2006
Running Time: 35:53
Even from the opening blastfest of the title track, it's clear that Dismember did not come to fuck around. Fiery leads sting and burn with equal precision, while Estby pounds the skins like a Neanderthal on an amphetamine jag, Matti's vocal cord-rending delivery pushing the speed demon that is 'Shadows Of The Mutilated' past the redline. Nearly gone are the mid-paced anthems from Like An Everflowing Stream, and even 2004's blistering Where Ironcrosses Grow, having been replaced by a tenacity never reached by a good part of Dismember's peers, and at times, even the band itself. Fantastic dual leads meander through 'Time Has Nothing', and 'Autopsy' is pure head-down and horns-up Swedish death metal of the highest order. It's rare that a drummer in this genre of music can manage to sound frantically scattered, yet keep the technical proficiency at as high a level as Fred Estby does in 'Autopsy'. You can have your clicktracked blastbeats and your triple-kickdrums to look cool during your shows, I'll take the sniper precision of a solid death metal drummer anyday, and Estby is as solid as they come. Don't worry, Dismember hasn't forgotten those who could give a fuck for all this (admitted) over-analyzation, and just want to crank up some raw oldschool death while knocking back a beer or thirty. Listening to 'Trail Of The Dead' - especially the hammering chugfest of 1:52 - 2:37 -, Dismember conjures the much-missed ghost of The Band Formerly Known As Metallica with more honest conviction than anyone in recent memory, pounding away at a riff that could've been lifted straight from Kill 'Em All. The instrumental 'Phantoms (Of The Oath)' leaps from harsh death to near Maiden-inspired dual axe work, clocking in at just under four minutes, and providing a welcome respite of sorts from the blitzkreig attack of the album thus far. The unbridled rage of 'Feel The Darkness' slams buzzsaw riffs into the anvil-heavy rhythm section of Estby and Tobias Christiansson, paving the way for the gnarled death'n'roll finale of 'Where No Ghost Is Holy'.
Continuing on with the high-quality death metal they've always been known for, Sweden's murder merchants return yet another massacre...and they've got an axe to grind. Listening to this album is the musical equivalent of having your skull split with a rusty, stuttering chainsaw, and - damn near two decades after their inception - few do it as well as Dismember.