DISSECTION - The Somberlain (THE END Records - LP 2006)
If I was going to say which is my favourite death and black metal scene ever, then surely it is Swedish! Why? Well, the answer is simple: just look at how many amazing, classic bands and albums this country has spawned in past 30 years! It is unbelievable and totally influential. And if I was going to mention which are three or five my favourite and important Swedish bands, then Dissection would surely be among them. It is undisputable how great influence the music of Jon Nödtveidt had on countless bands and that Dissection was responsible for creating something exceptional within the death and black metal scene. It’s one of those names, which you simply must know. So, let’s write some words on the classic debut album of the Swedish band titled “The Somberlain”! Oh yes, this is some fantastic stuff and probably the best thing, which Jon Nödtveidt composed (with great help of other band members of corpse, who on this record were John Zwetsloot, Peter Palmdahl and Ole Öhman).
It is fascinating that so many bands from these early days – and that obviously includes Dissection as well! – had already such a unique, recognisable sound and style already in the demo stages. You play “The Grief Prophecy” or “The Somberlain” and you just know this is Dissection; no other band was playing something alike to them (Necrophobic may have been close sometimes, but they were different anyway… and all those followers like Sacramentum, Dawn or Vinterland were great, but yes, they were followers!), no one else had such songs, which had such unique structures and arrangements. And even the voice of Jon Nödtveidt sounded different! And so damn amazing hehe! Already the first two songs, which open the album are enough to call it a classic, legendary LP! They are “Black Horizon” and “The Somberlain” – surely two best tracks here in my opinion. I just love their melodies combined with aggression and dark atmosphere, harsh vocals and it is simply impressive how built they are. It is not simple verse / chorus type of rock song; there are many fantastic, lengthy instrumental pieces, killer guitar work, which delivers insanely memorable harmonies, plenty awesome riffs, some extra parts played on acoustic guitar… Surely classic heavy metal of such Iron Maiden must have had an influence on building such songs, because it is not a common harsh, simple, primitive black / death metal. But what I especially love about Dissection and “The Somberlain” LP is that it may be melodic and atmospheric in many parts, but it doesn’t forget also about being damn obscure and aggressive. That’s the main strength of Dissection, I think.
So, “Black Horizon” and “The Somberlain” are amazing songs, but obviously the album has more to offer. All in all it is 45 minutes long material and damn, basically every song here is a winner like “Frozen”, “The Grief Prophecy / Shadows over a Lost Kingdom” and “Heaven’s Damnation”! But hey, what’s the point mentioning all these titles, if the whole LP is so killer and high quality? And more so, on top of everything that I mentioned, I also really love the production of “The Somberlain”… and that nice artwork of Necrolord is also a piece of art. All together, this album, just like all similar classic extreme metal records, deserves 100 out of 100, no less!
I must also mention that I was lucky to buy an ultimate vinyl edition of “The Somberlain”, released by The End Records in 2006. And it is simply astonishing, breathtaking release! Why is it called an ultimate edition? Just look at all the bonuses! Great booklet with some huge photos, lyrics and it’s also a double LP. Vinyl number one is the album, but vinyl number two gather many truly essential early Dissection recordings, which are: “The Grief Prophecy” demo 1990, “Into Infinite Obscurity” 7" EP, “Demo 1992” plus some live and rehearsal songs. So yes, it is a ultimate reissue and a perfect collection of the best what Dissection had to offer, especially as those demos and EP sound also fantastic, I especially love “Into Infinite Obscurity” EP, especially “Son of the Mourning”. You can hear how amazingly the music of Dissection was evolving, how it was getting better and better. But the demo and EP also sound fantastic; sure, their production is harsh and crude, but I simply love it! So, if I was going to recommend you buying any version of “The Somberlain” then it would surely be this one, with all these bonus stuff. Ha, killer!!!!
Standout tracks: “Black Horizon”, “The Somberlain”
Final rate: 95/100