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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