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Dimension Zero is a Death Metal supergroup of sorts. We have Jesper Stromblad from (now ex)In Flames on lead guitar and bass, Daniel Antonsson who played for both Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity on rhythm guitar, and Joakim Gothberg who at one time did vocals for Marduk on vocals. To round out the group we have Hans Nilsson on drums.
The band comes up with a sound I've really been looking for in the Gothenburg sound. If you were to mix the speed and aggression of At the Gates with the melody that old school In Flames pulled off so well you would have Dimension Zero.
The album starts off with a great song right off the bat, He Who Shall Not Bleed is fast and contains a sweet groove to it. But I especially enjoy the songs where the twin leads are sticking out like a sore thumb. This brings me to my favorite track on the album: I Can Hear The Dark. It starts off with violins in the background while Gothberg speaks a few lines. The music cuts in and you are hit with massive riffs that contain tons of melody. I find the main riff to be addicting myself.
I have to make note of the fact that the band recorded a cover of the Bee Gees song Stayin’ Alive. It’s the last track and it makes for a somewhat funny end to the album. Its played at light speed and Hans Nilsson throws in a lot of blast beats to compliment the heaviness. I actually enjoy it quite a bit.
Jocke Gothberg’s vocals are menacing and are far more black metal sounding than death metal with his high pitched throaty growls. There are some lower death growls peppered throughout the album as well.
The guitar riffs are for the most part memorable but there comes to be an issue. If you listen to the intro riff of Deny then skip ahead and do the same to The Was you will notice they are very similar. And that’s a problem throughout the album, some riffs seem to be recycled and reused here and there making you notice that certain guitar parts sound the same. This will probably bother a lot of people but I actually enjoyed the riffs so it wasn't too much of an issue for me. Still I have to deduct points for the lack of creativity here.
Even still it’s a great album, the vocals are ferocious, guitars are well played and melodic yet maintain their heaviness. The drumming is pretty standard. The bass rarely be heard except during breaks and its given a little fill. The production is top notch and you wouldn't be able to tell that it was recorded in 2007 but given a worldwide release of 2009.
He Who Shall Not Bleed is straight up melodeath with a larger focus on speed and “brutality” which is hard to come by these days where most the genre has been flooded by bands playing with a watered down hardcore influence. Props to Dimension Zero for being one of the handful of bands playing true melodic death metal.
Originally reviewed by me at http://abaddonsmetalshop.blogspot.com/
The first thing you should know about this record, created by fellow swedes from Dimension Zero is the thing, that this album has different approach in compairing with previous full-length records ( those 2 are quite similiar but still ballbreaking ones). The band, themselves, describe their record as "less thrashier and more melodic, reminding old In Flames". As for the first part, I agree with this statement, cause the departure of thrashy six-stringer Glenn Ljungström can barely pass unnoticeable (Glenn is responsible for most of the thrash riffs on the first albums). As for the second part - not really. Yeah, the melodies play major part on this CD, way more important then on pervious ones, but they remind more modern In Flames ala ASOP and CC rather than old ones (though Dimension Zero songs have faster tempo and more intenssive feeling generated with the help of relentless drums).
The opener track on DZ album is setting up the listener for certain mood of perception of the record`s songs. And from this point of view title track "He Who Shall Not Bleed" is one of the worst tracks of the album( not even compairing with "Silent Night Fever" and "This is Hell" openers), generic and really unoriginal riffs are uninteresting. But with second track kicking in ("Unto Others") you feel way more comfortable, cause this one is one of the better tracks on album. Tempo change from mid at the start to faster at the verse is quite effective, and the most important thing about this track is really attractive and interesting guitar melody line in the chorus unlike other tracks on the albums. Bridge part is nothing special but works extremely well for this song. "Hell is Within" is song which has the strongest modern In Flames feeling, generally this track is not bad but is annihilated by boring and very usual melody. Plus the break, closer to an end of the track, doesn`t really fit general atmosphere, cause the feel of intensity gained by the first part of the song is disappeared. "I Can Hear the Dark" is the most progressive song, if you can call it like that. Symphonic instruments, whispered vocals are involved. Not really that great for decision. Generally quite monotonous track with annoying chorus, though it has some nice guitar riffs. "Going Deep" is another highlight of the album. It is fast brutal, though it incorporates some melodic parts, but they don`t harm the song at all. It is really dynamic and interesting song.
The last of the album has only 2 tracks worth of mentioning they are "Deny" and "Way to Shine". "Deny" has unusual for DZ main riff (simple but catchy) and really great solo, but the main downside of the this track is the hole between 2nd chorus and interlude, which brings the feeling of disharmony, otherwise, it is quite good track. Closing track "Way to Shine" also brings some great solo-work and guitar riffs, this track is also differs from previous DZ work, but it is closing track, and generally it sounds really solid. Other tracks, which I didn`t mention, don`t bring anything unique or at least interesting, following the same general formula (practically, all the songs follow it, but some of them have really nice musical editions).
The album has some hurtfull downsides, but the quality of production is really great without any doubt. I don`t have any complaints about the perfomance of DZ members. This record is not really intenssive and creative (diversity in details) compairing with earlier realeses, especially "Silent Night Fever", from the other side it is more melodic and listener-friendly. The thing you will always find in Dimension Zero album is really great guitar parts, but there not so many of themon this record. If you are die-hard dan of ealry DZ stuff there is a big chance you won`t like this record, but for friendly-metal listener this is album is more than ok. The trick about this album, is that this record is a grower one, you need to listen few times to get it. While earlier works more are more straight-forward and catch you from the first seconds of the action.
When Jay Leno hosted the Tonight Show, I remember witnessing one of his interviews with actor Josh Brolin, which was around the period “No Country for Old Men” was gracing the masses. Brolin claimed working under the direction of Joel and Ethan Coen was difficult, because after each scene, both men would just give a disgusted, apathetic shrug in response. That’s basically how I feel about “He Who Shall Not Bleed” and Dimension Zero in general. Essentially, Dimension Zero sounds like the musical equivalent of watching a group of rejects (or hipsters) from Gothenburg dropkick the horse’s decayed ribcage once again, because melodic death metal is still in its golden age… even though 1995 was twelve years ago. I guess some were a little late in receiving the telegraph. Embryonic form or not, “He Who Shall Not Bleed” spotlights why this niche is always suffocated in modern ways, and it’s not like Scar Symmetry where it can be fun despite those obvious hints at catchiness. Why? Because it fails miserably at capturing anything steady or remotely joyful in the musical perspective for the record’s statutory worth, plain and simple.
You know, I must be truthful: I had faith in this one. “He Who Shall Not Bleed” has three dudes currently associated with In Flames (remember, they weren’t always trash!) Dark Tranquillity, and Liers In Wait, so I’d assume three guys related to three bands that greatly influenced melodic death metal would resume its justice days with such a lineup. Well, that dream turned into a nightmare. Jesper Strömblad: riff master, or burnt-out jughead? Is that even a question? His guitar show represents what killed successful Gothenburg years ago: unoriginal harmonies, dull melodic riffs, poor groove chops, jejune soloing (if you can call it that), and occasionally applying this deadbeat thrash influence that only pisses in these bloodied wounds. Come on, this guy wouldn’t know how to craft a hearty riff if one kicked him in the nuts, and he frankly left Dimension Zero a suffering card underneath his generic self-worship. Basically, anyone hoping Jesper managed to remove his head from his hella-tight ass for this project can forget about it. Dimension Zero’s approach herein rolls the Jesper turd in glitter, which makes it nice and shiny, but doesn’t change the fact that it’s still waste from a radio-friendly scrounger.
I’m mildly intrigued by Dimension Zero in this sole situation, however, simply because the receiving object features ex-Liers In Wait drummer Hans Nilsson and one-time Marduk vocalist Joakim Göthberg who shrieked in the black metal group’s listenable-era phenomenally. Ironically, I say both gentlemen give a respectable performance from their desired positions. Nilsson’s percussion, although clearly limited by Dimension Zero’s lightheaded circumstance, is awe-inspiring in all essential areas of drumming: excellent rhythm sections, powerful fills, energetic blasting, and so on. Joakim on the other hand seems to have drifted into a higher-toned shriek than his showcase on “Those of the Unlight,” which, despite narrowing the individualism of his voice, comes off enjoyably overall for what it’s worth; not as good as he once was, yet Joakim’s pipes are definitely free of clogs. As for the album’s prime slices, we have a few nice cuts not drenched in hallowed filth, especially “Is,” which conjures muscular tremolo riffs and melodies akin to prototypical Gothenburg releases like The Crown’s “The Burning” or Dark Tranquillity’s debut; strong and daring, it stands alone. “Deny” doesn’t look too bad either, although there are obvious hues of poverty lurking in its structures. Sadly, the fact remains a stunning zero percent – even despite solid melodic death worship – of these passable contributions actually bob up in fertile territory, so Dimension Zero’s vital signs are anything but original regardless.
So basically, Dimension Zero holds no gold within this vault, but wasn’t that to be expected? Mediocre melodic death metal commands all, the songs are rushed and lacking original content, and there are hardly any moments differing from this sad norm of modernism; it’s like they’re not even trying at all. But perhaps I have merciful dispositions when discussing “He Who Shall Not Bleed” due to the overshadowed performances from our good friends shrieking like crazy and pounding those drums into bleakness. However, that is no excuse to not proclaim Dimension Zero is fundamentally vacant of intelligent Gothenburg or writing something not smothered in popular, trendy opinion.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
Finally getting a US/Worldwide release after coming out 2 years ago on Japan’s Toy Factory Records, the third album from super group Dimension Zero holds up not only after two years but as an album that would have sounded fresh and energetic whatever years it was released in.
For me, the 2002 debut, Silent Night Fever from this side project of In Flames’ Jesper Stromblad and former Marduk guitarist Jocke Gothburg single handedly re-energized the melodic death metal scene and although the follow up, 2003s This Is Hell, was a bit of a let down (for me at least anyway), He Who Shall Not Bleed perfectly melds intensity, aggression and melody into one perfect delivery. Basically, if you took the supine dual melodies of In Flames’ early work and gave them the back bone and thrashing relentlessness of Dew Scented-you would get Dimension Zero.
The formula is actually surprisingly simple in essence, but in execution, the delicate harmonies that intertwine the thrash salvos (often in the choruses), are so perfectly rendered in their tenacious intensity that they will blow by and you will have to go back to ensure that gorgeous melody you just heard wasn’t a figment of your imagination. Granted, the drumming of Hans Nilsson ( ex-Liers In wait) is pretty uneventful, buts it’s forceful and steady back bone to the melodies of Stromblad, the slicing rhythms (Soilwork guitarist) Daniel Antonsson and the blackened rasp of Gothburg.
After the blistering, pure thrash assault of the opening track and the short sharp “Unto Others”, and tantalizing melodic thrash of “A Paler Shade of White”, personal favorite “Hell Is Within” delivers one of the album truly stunning moments with a chorus that sounds like is was from The Jester Race-on steroids as does “I Can Hear the Dark” and other favorite tracks “Is” and “The Was”. “Going Deep” and “Red Dead Heat” are just forcefully menacing thrash romps while “Way to Shine” offers the albums only respite with a mid paced chunk and some questionable, more modern In Flames moments. The US release gets two bonus track in the way of (ready for this?) a blistering cover of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees-one of the more creative cover tracks if recent memory and “Rövarvisan” a furious number to end the album on a high note.
He Who Shall Not Bleed may not revitalize the genre as Silent Night Fever did back in 2002, but amid all the watered down Americanized, core based bands and In Flames/Dark Tranquillity’s hot /cold resurgence, Dimension Zero stand as a pure and vitriolic offering as you will hear.
Here we go again with the third Dimension Zero album. This Is Hell was archived as a sort of a small but audible downfall in terms of songwriting and inspiration. You know, when the style gets too brutal and fast, it’s hard to combine it with the melody. The debut was very good from this point of view and this new album is a bit more bound to the past, with the entering of the melodies once more. We begin with the production that is always incredibly pounding and massive, while the style of the band has remained the same, so expect more of the classic death/thrash metal in Swedish way.
At The Gates plays an important role here and we can already notice it on the blasting fury of the opener. Surprisingly, there are some riffs that are more oriented towards some kinds of hardcore patterns. However, the rest is pure brutality and the following “Unto Others” finally displays more melodies and less will to destroy everything. The vocals this time are even more black metal oriented because the shrieks are even nastier, if compared to the recent past. “A Paler Shade of White (A Darker Side of Black)” mixes in a quite good way the more melodic guitars lines during the chorus with the unmatchable heaviness of the verses. There are also some blast beats spread all around but the main tempo is the up one.
“Hell Is Within” features some more “modern” melodies. The riffs take lots of influences form the modern way of playing extreme with some stop and go and the more melodic overtures. The viciousness always lies on the fast palm muting and the screams. “Red Dead Heat” is a very short track with some more modern elements on some riffs, especially on the mid-paced sections. The rest is for the up tempo and the blast beats. The vocals here turn to be more in growl style but the screamed tonality is always present. So far the tracks are nothing spectacular but they are decent. The introduction of some new elements can be seen in two ways: some may think it’s a risky attempt and they failed but I believe it’s a quite good choice to give new blood to a sound that risks being stagnant.
“I Can Hear the Dark” has definitely more melodies inside, starting from the violoncello introduction and passing through the very good lead lines duets. On this song the bass is more audible because the guitars are less impulsive during those duets and they let emerge the four chords. With “Going Deep” we go back to a sort of primordial impulsiveness. The riffs are more pissed off and the drumming is really relentless. However, we can always notice a hint of melody for the soloing. “Is” has a different approach to the riffs on the first part but soon we return to “normality” with massive mid-paced sections and a more melodic verse with a sad chorus. Finally with “Deny” we can hear some good fast paced double kick parts and more melodies.
“The Was” is actually very good in combining once again out of the blue melodic overtures and the more canonical death metal touches. “Way to Shine” is the song that features the highest level of melody because there are also some good arpeggios breaks in which the vocals are just whispered and truly sad. This is the most melodic death metal oriented track here and I like it even if it’s like the rest of the album, good but nothing outstanding. If we forget the hilarious Bee Gees cover, this is an album to check out if you love the melody that comes hand in hand with the brutality. A quite pleasant surprise after the shabby This Is Hell.
Yeah, this is pretty much where the aggression that once fueled In Flames has been residing since the end of the nineties. If you are a fan of that band, and for whatever reason think they've sold out (very likely), I highly recommend listening to this band. They aren't necessarily breaking any new ground, but what they are doing is cranking out solid melodic death metal when most of the core Swedish bands have alter their sound to a point of self parody. Maybe they got annoyed when the American scene viciously raped the corpse of At the Gates, which was still warm and appealing to the modern day vultures dominating American metal.
I am doubtful that Dimension Zero will succeed in making a record as good as Silent Night Fever in the future, but this album definitely has it's moments of solid melodic death riffage. Unto Others is a solid offering, as well as I Can Hear the Dark if you can get by the stupid lyrics. I haven't been a fan of the lyrics in this band since the first album, but I really don't even listen to what he's screaming about other than in the chorus when they are pushed to the front of the mix. Most of these songs are pretty much alternating pummeling riffs, which is exactly what they were going for I'd say. A lot of people slam Dimension Zero for the repetitive drumming, but I'd say it's no more than is required for these kind of songs. Anything more varied would take away from what the album is about, which is the riffs and melodies. This a guitar driven band in every sense.
Most are good aggressive tracks, but the real winner here is the closing track. Not the stupid Beegees cover, but Way to Shine. Here we have some tasteful melodies leading into a brief break, which sets up a good build for a solid epic tune. The attempt at clean vocals is a bit awkward, but is forgiven due to the conviction of the music. It's brief, and gives way to a more aggressive, memorable melody. Towards the end it starts to kick supreme amounts of ass, as the guitarists actually bust out some ripping leads, Something that is absent in most of Dimension Zero's catalog thus far, except for the first EP. The short shred fest is tasteful and flows very well back into the chorus for a last kick before the stupid Beegees tune, which I never stick around for.
Chances are if you like Melodic Death, and I know that are some that still do, you will dig this album for the most part. And if you haven't heard the debut Silent Night Fever, definitely pick that up, as I feel it is a more apt demonstration of what this band was created for. When all is said and done, this band is the salvation that many fans of In Flames have most likely been seeking. Yes, Jesper does still like to write good riffs with a vocalist who doesn't steal all the emphasis, and completely contort the sound of the band as a whole.
Those Swedes, eh? Say what you want about pretty much everything about this population, but when it comes to music, the nation itself plays a big role in the metal community, and has spat out some very fascinating releases. Sometimes in the form of major juggernauts which rocks the whole world, and other times, such as this, as average outlettings which doesn’t really shake the listener, but offers something to keep the target group listening.
The gothenburg-y elements mixed with fast, violent components once again manages to sound “okay”. Dimension Zero has always delivered this type of melody, and it looks as if they’ll keep going for some time yet. Although I haven’t appreciated the bands music before (except for one or two songs), I’ve always had that feeling that someday they’ll release something worth listening to. For starters, this album is not bad. There’s a quite logical explanation for that; the music is not as repetitive this time around. Sadly, “not as repetitive” does not translate to “unique”. It’s not exceptional in any way, and works similarly as watching a mediocre tv show just to kill time, and suddenly you find yourself stuck in it. The guitars present their usual “trr-trr”-riffing style, BUT, when they once in a while slow down a bit it works very well. When “Unto Others” (At the gates, anyone?) starts, they enter midtempo mode, and while the few seconds of it pass, you feel rather proud of the band. I wish they’d do this more often, since it blends into the raging speed parts flawlessly. Oh, speaking of raging parts, I really must mention their cover of “Staying Alive”. They’ve tripled the speed, the excitement and made a worn-out “classic” work again. This shows quality musicianship. The musicians involved in this band are professionals, and know what they’re doing, so you won’t precisely hear anything even related to substandard music. Except for the drums, that is.
While the music itself may not be frequently repeating itself, the drumming sure does. Why, oh why, can’t all metal drummers throw in a little bit of variation once in a while with some fills, or at least change from ride to hi-hat in blastbeats? It’s just so damn recognizable it hurts. Pretty soon it all transforms into a big mush, and you stop concentrating on the beat.
The vocals are your usual shrieks and growls as well. They tend to not stand out, but generally rather stay in the background. Jocke Göthberg has a admirable history behind him, but these days he’s “just one of many” vocalists, and doesn’t break new ground in any way here.
Since day one when Dimension Zero was created, the nowadays five Swedes have played fast melodic thrash metal. Over the course of twelve years, the formula has not changed a bit, and hardly won’t in potential future releases either, I think. If you’re a fan of this band from before, you’ll probably like this. It has its golden moments. Most importantly; if you can’t tolerate gothenburg-influenced metal, you won’t like this at all.
Fans of the genre should check out the following tracks:
“He who shall not bleed”, “Unto others”, “Deny” & “Staying Alive”