Dissection certainly belongs to the most respected and important Swedish extreme metal bands. No surprise really, if you look at their short discography… short, but filled with important and essential releases. Not only there’s “The Somberlain” – one of my favourite records of all time, a true death / black metal masterpiece, but there’s also an insanely good follower, “Storm of the Light’s Bane”. I am not sure if it is a better record when compared to the debut… and I probably don’t even care, as I would rather say that both are equally killer. Both have truly amazing songs, both characterise that exceptional songwriting and arranging style of Jon Nödtveidt… and both are masterpieces of melodic, dark death / black metal. Of course “Storm of the Light’s Bane” was a step forward for Dissection. They got signed by Nuclear Blast Records, who surely had bigger promotional possibilities than No Fashion. Luckily, bigger label didn’t affect the music, and the second album is a natural continuation of “The Somberlain”. The second LP maintains all the strong, powerful aspects of Dissection music and only the production is cleaner, less obscure, but still nice and powerful, fitting well to such dark and cold music.
One look at the tracklist of “Storm of the Light’s Bane” and you can spot that literally all songs on the album are top quality, all are killer tunes, so well known also from the band’s live performances. It is basically flawless, high quality and perfect record from start to finish, without even a second of filler material. Just give a listen to side A (I have the LP, but in case of CD version then I mean tracks 2-5): “Night’s Blood”, “Unhallowed” and finally “When Dead Angels Lie”. Isn’t that a perfect combination of songs? Just as on the previous album, also here Dissection composed amazing songs, where aggressive, obscure riffing goes hand in hand with great harmonies, the work of guitarists is simply astonishing, so well performed, so well composed and arranged music… Just as on the previous record, also here Dissection comes with lengthy songs, but this time is never wasted, as a strong care was taken to craft the long instrumental parts, where both guitarists bring excellent harmonies, which never sound boring and surely are not too melodic. And these lengthy songs never fell apart, being solid and complete… It’s a great achievement of Dissection that they can perform melodic death / black metal without sounding cheesy, but it’s always so dark, sharp and rough. There’s a lot of anger, aggression, but also melancholy and all in all it can be described as emotional music even. Ah, I forgot to add also that some space has also been spiced with acoustic guitars. They add some epicness and even more atmosphere to the whole record, clearly “When Dead Angels Lie” being the best known example for it. And let’s not forget about Jon Nödtveidt’s characteristic ice cold, harsh vocals, which are just as unique as his composing and playing style. With all these aspects together, you always know and recognize easily that this is Dissection and not some copycats or whatever.
“Night’s Blood” and “Unhallowed” are definitely my favourite tunes on this album. But then, as mentioned before, the whole record is perfect, so if I also take as an example such “Retribution - Storm of the Light's Bane” or “Soulreaper” then it’s also a very good choice. And this is how you recognize a masterpiece album. You listen to it for one decade, then for another, but it still gives you a goose bumps, still excites you like crazy… and every song is a winner. “The Somberlain” is exactly like that and “Storm of the Light's Bane” as well.
Finally, I have here an ultimate vinyl version of the album, released in 2006, which not only contains a nice 12” size booklet with lyrics, graphics and some band photos, but also a second bonus LP, which brings an unknown, previously unreleased, mixing of the whole album. And usually I am quite skeptic about such doubtful quality bonuses, as mostly you simply can’t tell the difference between both versions… In this case it’s actually a good addition, as the sound of the unreleased version is different; it’s harsher, more obscure, rawer… So, it was also a great experience to hear that album with more obscure sound and it’s nice to have now a choice which version I want to listen to. Fantastic, complete vinyl release, really!
Standout tracks: “Night’s Blood”, “Unhallowed”, “When Dead Angels Lie”, “Retribution”
Final rate: 88/100