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There are many contenders for the crown of Swedish death metal, but one of the most compelling and downright vicious of the early days is found in the raging beast of Dismember. Their sound, at its inception, represented one of the rawest yet coherent takes on the frenzied rage that went in to the early, largely thrash-infused character of death metal. Much like contemporary albums out of the likes of Entombed and Morbid Angel, there is a strong adherence to the mystic/occult side of the genre's broad lyrical outlook to complement the obligatory gore obsession that was pioneered by Death and then exaggerated by Cannibal Corpse, but the musical content actually proves to be quite conservative, hinting at a very methodical approach to songwriting that balances dissonant darkness with a discernible melodic structure that almost resembles early melodic death metal in the mode of Dissection.
"Like An Ever Flowing Stream" presents itself in a grandiose manner even before the sonic assault ensues, offering up one of the most epic album arts to ever come out of the Swedish death metal scene, and arguably also contends with any metal album art put forth since the 70s. But in an interesting twist, the actual musical contents are noteworthy for a concise brevity that is very appropriate to the traditional death metal sound, only occasionally breaking the 5 minute mark in a single song, and sometimes even keeping it below 2 minutes. The lead guitar work largely resembles the frenetic early leads of 1983-84 Slayer, and at times almost wander into a bluesy territory reminiscent of Entombed in the later 90s, but is also used rather sparsely in comparison to the frequent fret board gymnastics normally engaged in by contemporary counterparts in the U.S. such as Trey Azagthoth and the Hoffman brothers. Blast beats are also rarely employed, in contrast to the signature mode of one-upping the thrash influences of death metal that Morbid Angel and Bolt Thrower had already employed almost to the point of becoming grindcore, and an occasional atmospheric keyboard line in a similar mold to Darkthrone's "Soulside Journey" makes an occasional appearance.
As a whole, this album could be treated as one massive highlight, given that the songs are all but equally infused with a brilliant mixture of blinding madness and pummeling slower sections. But if there is one song on here that truly embodies the unfettered fury and sheer genius at work, it's the multifaceted and longer "Dismembered", which manages to maintain an air of simplicity amid the madness and contrasting sections, and opts for an almost vocal-like melodic lead guitar approach with only the occasional outright shredding section. The melodic content itself isn't the overtly NWOBHM character that would later come to define Dark Tranquillity, but at times it almost seems to be pointing at that approach. The vocal assault, as is the case with the rest of the album, is largely a somewhat guttural but still gruff shout indicative of John Tardy and Chuck Schuldiner, and definitely feeds into the album's thrash tendencies and mild conservatism quite well.
While I tend to prefer the first two Dissection albums amid the slew of powerful early to mid 90s albums to come out of the Swedish scene, this album is the one to get for a starting point in a fine tradition of northern European grimness and grandeur. Dismember would never quite top this one on subsequent efforts, but they did come close several times and stand alongside Unleashed as one of the more consistent bands to storm forth from the frigid borders of Scandinavia, and all newcomers to it would do well to take care when first approaching it, as neck fractures can result for the uninitiated.
"Like an Everflowing Stream" might not have been the first release to portray the Swedish death metal style, but it filled the slight voids that, in my opinion, "Left Hand Path" or even "Dark Recollections" had showed a year before and pushed every aspect of the music to a peak that is yet to be matched. The production, which was in charge of Tomas Skogsberg, is spectacular, fitting the music perfectly. For 1991, the sound is pure ear candy, also taking into account that the band was releasing their debut album.
From the awe inspiring cover art crafted by Dan Seagrave, to every single note played in the riffs, solos and leads, the album is death metal perfection and then some, redefining everything I love about such an extreme genre of music. Yes, it has riffs that will make your adrenaline and testosterone (even females will develop it with such mayhemic guitar-work) reach a new level. It has the eerie solos that will rip your face off, melodies that add some true emotion, while never really getting anywhere close to the Gothenburg style, something Dismember always did well in their 23 years of a consistent career.
There are only a few seconds of relative calmness, which are in the beginning, although they foreshadow the oncoming massacre that this album is. Just 25 seconds into the first track and you will already be hooked and headbanging like crazy! There is simply no option, apart from listening throughout the whole record (and then repeat endlessly), since every moment is memorable. The riffs and leads will start to perfectly portray the dark atmosphere that the cover creates. There is thrashiness in most of the riffs, which combined with a delightful guitar tone (imagine the walking war-tank of the "Massive Killing Capacity" cover at its top form, running through a Scandinavian forest and with a desire to destroy everything that is ahead of it, until it reaches the sinister landscape shown in "Like an Everflowing Stream" cover) , makes this album a one of a kind listening experience.
Another aspect that I really like about this record is the vast variety that the songs provide, each one of them being identifiable from one another. The longer tracks, "Override of the Overture," "Dismembered," and "In Death's Sleep," are full of relentless, sick riffs. They are atmospheric when mid-paced and brutal at faster speeds (particularly the melodic intro and solo at the start of the iconic fifth song). The last song contains some glorious doom chords that work wonders. Incredibly fast paced songs like "Soon to be Dead" and "Skin Her Alive" are truly intense and bludgeoning, containing awesome solos, but don't worry, the lasting impact of the tracks is not compromised at all. Matti's growls sound so bloodthirsty in "Skin Her Alive", as if a beast was roaring from the cliff that appears on the background of the cover. The vocals sound kind of distant, like if it was the result of an echo produced by a ravenous ghoul that is persecuting you. Kärki's beastly growls pronounce the following lyrics, which will stick to the listener's head due to its memorability.
"Haunted by my conscious
Living my life in hell
Didn't (fucking) hesitate
When I moved in for the kill".
The remaining songs "Bleed for Me", "And So is Life" and "Sickening Art" contain more thrashing energy than all the retro thrash bands combined. Especially, the fourth track is a highlight (as if there really were, because everything is remarkable) and it perfectly represents what the lyrics say. For instance, it starts as if a candle was being lit, illuminating a dark labyrinth that has fire all around it and voices that serve as a prelude of a tragedy to come (in this part of the song, some menacing solos can be heard and then the riffs come at a mid pace). A blasphemous and cruel beast (represented by Matti Kärki) prepares to fall into oblivion and finally die, which is when the riffs release everflowing thrash. At around 1:21, immediately after Matti's coarse growl pronounces "And I'm rotting with belief", some of the most twisted leads I've ever heard take the front seat. That section of the song tries to illustrate how the beast, even though admittedly in grief and full of regret, wants to escape its fate. Finally, after a mid paced thrash bridge, the songs recovers its blazing speed once again, where the beast accepts its death with open arms.
The lyrics and songwriting, as previously mentioned, are compelling and adequately reflect the violent nature of this kind of music. The drums, delivered by Fred Estby, are intense and proficient all the way through, still not stealing the predominant and brilliant role that the guitars provide. The bass is omnipresent, adding a thicker, heavier sound to this monstrous piece. It gallops in a barbaric and monolithic fashion with no intention of giving the listener a slight rest from the realms of utter heaviness. Nicke Anderson's job also has to be highlghted, because he contributed with the best guitar leads he has ever crafted, even better than the ones present in "Left Hand Path" or "Clandestine".
You can't possibly go wrong with this record if you are a fan of death metal and particularly of the Swedish style. That is why I always return to it after listening to a mediocre or unfulfilling death metal composition, since it never fails to please my cravings for sheer aggressiveness and musical excellence. Words can't describe the profound appreciation I feel for "Like an Everflowing Stream" and I can't ignore the influence it had on my musical taste about a year ago when I first heard it. It's the first metal record I have ever owned and when it comes to death metal, it remains unmatched for me (or at least I haven't heard any album that surpasses it to my ears).
If you still don't own it (you better buy it ASAP!), you should get the reissue containing 4 bonus tracks. "Deathevocation" has a hell of a malevolent and weird sounding solo, "Defective Decay" has great thrash riffs with a different vocal approach from Mr. Kärki, being much more demonic and brutal sounding, which sounds killer to my ears. "Torn Apart" has a more precarious production (similar to the one used in "Indecent & Obscene"), although it would've been a worthy addition to the original tracklist and the last song, "Justifiable Homicide" (released four years later in the band's third full length "Massive Killing Capacity") is the weakest track and the only one that doesn't deserve the title of a masterpiece.
"Dismembered" remains my favorite song of what is perhaps the best debut of a death metal band ever, and it's my favorite track from Dismember, because it basically offers everything that a Dismember fan could want in a song. It has timeless melodies, transcendental solos, insane vocals, unearthly riffs and a perfect cohesion that borders on a death metal utopia. "Like an Everflowing Stream" holds my highest praise as every metalhead should.
This is the stream that death metal drinks from. Many albums came before this, but to my ears none surpass it. Upon its release, it exceeded death metal, and when I found myself at its banks it exceeded any level of music I thought possible. What boggles me is that such material was written and played by boys, and I say boys because these guys were still primarily teens or in the teenage mindset. Let’s just say this was their way of crossing into adulthood, something which makes the rest of our coming-of-age stories look pathetic. This is and will always be; nothing else in death metal tops it.
Death metal matured to the point when it became perfected on this album: guitar tone, bass coating, growling style, menacing leads, memorable passages, remarkable composition, monolithic scope, and riffs. As much as one sentence can have value, let “riffs” in the last sentence hold the most. The riffs on this album are impeccable, malevolent, and greased with boiling distortion. No riff on this album that I hear falls short of making me headbang, as it hopefully will do for anyone that listens to death metal. These riffs, backed by colossal bass support, are embalmed in the distinctive chainsaw guitar tone. To me, it’s the greatest use of this tone, but not for riffs and tone alone. It’s the fact that these riffs are also supported by such songs that contain depth of leads, twisted atmosphere, and compelling writing. Nothing’s half-assed or timid whatsoever; the aggression here trumps all death metal while maintaining pride and class.
What Dismember presented with Like An Ever Flowing Stream (with boss cover art) is a flawless album that tops any death metal that came before it. For a music genre governed by core instruments, there is no better example of pushing the genre beyond its limitations. With perfection reached, the band surpassed even that to create the most dejected, dynamic death metal album. The production is fantastic, with thickness ripe from the pounding double bass to the bubbling bass booms to the coarse, frenzied riffs. It's a beastly album in nature and classy in execution while remaining doomy without sacrificing the compositional strength.
From Kärki’s demonic growling, through the annihilating drumming of Estby, and onto the forefront with Blomqvist, Sennebäck, Cabeza, and Andersson, this album is the pinnacle of death metal. I can’t praise this album enough, and as a recommendation it holds the same status. The songs on this album are of the elite, with a personal favorite going to “Override Of The Overture”. Like An Ever Flowing Stream is ideal death metal in every way, and its place in death metal is second to none.
When I think of Sweden, I think of Gothenburg metal scene and then I think of Dismember. And the magnificence of albums like “Like an Ever Flowing Streams” makes me think about this band so often. The form of music exhibited in this one, i.e. melodic and with in-your-face posture truly was one of the sounds I was long looking for; and melodic here doesn’t signify what Gothenburg bands have been doing; in fact melodic harmonies here are to enhance the extremity and this has worked well.
The instrumentation skills of every member are brilliantly revealed here, and this has made the album sound this beautiful. The whole record is an incorporation of really good tracks, where all riffs are made genuinely impressive. Take the intro riff of “Override of the Overture” for example – it sounds gloomy, thick and brutal at the same time. Moreover, it’s epic, and this fineness runs right till the end. There are melodic constituents and there is speed.
The lead solos are another aromatic portions. Solos in tracks like “And So is Life” and “Dismembered” are solid and they precisely suit the music.
Matti Kärki’s vocals are rather shouts, or in my saying, they’re combination of shouts and old school death metal type of rasps. The vocals performance in the final track “Defective Decay” is totally altered from the rest of the tracks, in which his shouts have taken lower and more demonic structure. It would have been better if he had chosen this style throughout the album. Anyway whatever he has done, unlike most (new) death metal vocalists around, he has spoken the lyrics right from the depths, with absolute powerful in-your-face deliverance.
The drumming by Fred Estby is substantial; his rage seems totally ceaseless, stably atrocious all the time. There are lots of headbangable moments in between, and this is why I love death metal so much.
The production is somewhat raw and consequently the sound appears to be thrashy. In general, for me it’s authentically one of the greatest records to have come out of Sweden, and is a one that no death metal fan can miss.
Among all the bands in Swedish death metal genre, Dismember have a honoured place along with Carnage, Grave, Entombed and Unleashed because they are the true founders. At the time it was the heaviest stuff coming out of Europe and the first two years of the 90s marked very important debuts like “Dark Recollection”, “Left Hand Path” and this Dismember debut.
“Override Of Overture” is a fist in the stomach for those who loved the Carnage and Entombed debuts the just the year before. The chainsaw guitars are now a well stuck characteristic in the sound and some more melodic lines already appeared to make the sound even better and various without losing anything in impact. Despite the young age of the members, Dismember were already very good musicians and composers.
The main American influences and the early grind one can be found in brutal, sheer attacks like “Soon To Be Dead” and the pounding “Bleed For Me”. The production is clear and the guitar sound does the main work here: a real wall of sound. The drum up tempos are crazy and seem never ending and the short songs’ length contributes in creating a superb assault without resulting boring at all.
Again the melody appears in “Dismembered” but it’s just here to add something weird and obscure to the sound with plenty of dark screams…so don’t expect something in modern melodic death metal style. The following semi blast beats and the various stop and go forced me to forget the melody of the few seconds before. A melody that we can find partially in the obscure symphony of the solos of the violent “Sickening Art”.
The 5 minute doom/death of “In Death’s Sleep” (with good apply of keys and dark solos) ends a cult album and a must for any early death metal fan who wants to know the first step by a band that still nowadays doesn’t stop in grinding our ears. Let the blood stream flow…
After a split, making a record with Carnage, split up that band then Dismember was finally reformed in 1991 with old 2nd guitarist Robert Sennebäck & new bassist Richard Cabeza. They released the legendary "Like An Everflowing Stream", an album with pure torture, hatred, anger & no signs of fear anywhere.
Since the radio never have been interested in playing Death Metal it wasn't so important to make singles, though Dismember released a picture-disc of "Skin Her Alive". This might have been both good for Dismember but in my opinion it's more worth not having a single in this case. Why? Well, because if they had a single (I know they had a video for "Soon To Be Dead") they would have been more limited. Everyone should think like "Wooow, I better buy that single since the rest of the album probably is crap since they don't have more singles", but since they didn't have a official single everyone had to buy the album & it's not waste of money.
These guys were young here but they could play the shit out of the instruments. It's all here, raw crushing guitars, demonic basses, raging drums & of course pure angry growl. The only thing not made by the band is the guitar solos which is played by then Entombed-drummer Nicke Andersson (except for "Override of the Overture" which is played by David Blomqvist).
It's a very stabilized album, the tracks are not repeating each other but at the sime time they're all perfect. You can hear "Soon To Be Dead", almost exactly 2 minutes of pure torture for your smooth little ears but at the same time you can listen to the more melodic & epic "In Death's Sleep" but you'll still love it. Also, I'm a big fan of guitar solos & this got some really nice ones. They almost sound sad in some way, listen to "Dismembered" for example. It starts off with a 2:15 (something) intro with some nice melodic guitars & then it all just explods & it's one of the fastest tunes I've ever heard & poor Fred beats so fast on the drums that he barely can keep it up.
The production is great, you hear everything clear & it fits the tunes very well. The production along with the tunes would have made this album awesome even if the guys couldn't play this good & was more like some bad punk musicians.
Highlights are: All of them of course but my personal favorites are "Override of the Overture", "Dismembered", "Sickening Art" & "In Death's Sleep".
It's a great piece of Death Metal history, I strongly recomend it. All good tunes, no fillers just killers! Another thing is also the album cover. It's the most awesome I've ever seen & you can't stop drewling to it once you hold the CD or vinyl in your hands. I would steel it & use for my own band if I wasn't gonna be sued for that!
These guys are as good as Sweden's extreme metal scene gets. If more people played their Death Metal like Dismember I would be a happy metalhead. The thrash-influenced, überdistorted and dirty sound of this album makes it total delight for true headbangers. They also fully know how to utilize melody in their songs without making them into some boring wanky Gothenburg mess. Every song is filled with memorable riffs and pretty much keeps the pace up throughout the album.
Highlights are live favourite "Skin Her Alive", opener "Override of The Overture" and ultra-blasting "Soon To Be Dead". "Dismembered" is also very cool song, beginning with a long harmony section before turning into a monster of a song. These guys certainly have their riffing down. Another positive thing is Matti Kärki's vocals. He's one of those guys that is totally convincing when he just bursts out lyrics of slaughter, suicide and other similar topics. His growling fits perfectly with the music as well without going over the top anywhere.
For anyone who likes uncompromising well-composed Death Metal, this album is a great highlight. There are chainsaw-sounding guitars blasting out riff after riff, there's insane aggression and it's all in a perfect (dis)harmony. One of the best debut albums ever.
Death metal should, in my opinion, have that certain "death metal" feeling to it. You want to hear death metal, not some spoiled, long haired kid trying to scream with an amazingly gay voice about loss of love from his parents or his girlfriend breaking up with him. In other words, you don't want to hear pussy music. Well metalheads, you won't find any pussies on this record.
While many bands in Sweden choose to play the more melodic "Gothenburg metal" (eg In Flames), Dismember choose to stay true to the original death metal sound. It's straightforward death metal without any synths or female choir singing or what-fucking-ever. The tempo is at times shifting between slow and faster parts in the songs; this is, of course, only when it fits the music perfectly (not many faults to be found on this album). The production is also good and solid.
The musicianship is great, although I think the lead guitars stands out the most. There are numerous pretty melodic (no, not melodic in a gay way) although fast solos to be found and they're quite good. Each song on this album is of course great. If there would be any standouts it would be the first song (kind of a Swedish death metal classic): Override of the Overture and Skin Her Alive.
Bands like Dismember and acts such as Unleashed, (early) Necrophobic and Vomitory together with newer bands such as Spawn of Possession, Incision and Visceral Bleeding shows that the Swedish death metal scene isn't something to ignore. This album was one of the starters in Sweden, and today it remains a steadfast monument in Swedish extreme metal history.
"Like An Everflowing Stream", a solid, uncompromising and brutal punch in the face of bands like In Flames.
Kids, THIS is how to play death metal. None of this grind bullshit (Suckbid Angel) or stuff that is hardly even metal, much less DM (Blopeth)... this is solid, HEAVY fucking metal with some good melodic ideas, and excellent, occasionally thrashy, always memorable riffage. The album is definitely middle-heavy, with And So is Life and Dismembered being the real highlights - though from beginning to end it goes on with no letup.
We start with Override of the Overture... the first riff (after the little intro) gets us rolling with a good idea of what this band will be like. A pretty typical death-metal riff - speedy, a bit melodic... (imagine Possessed) then, the second riff at 0.54 is more thrashy - if this doesn't get your head banging, you're probably dead and you need to listen to some Opeth as you rot, just so you don't wake up again and pester the living.
And So is Life is where the album picks up another notch. This song is pretty interesting in that it has a Nocturnus-like lead guitar lick over the first riff set, then some headbanging verses, which break into a little interlude, and then more solid riffage. The riffs tend to be of the two main styles mentioned before - the melodic almost Possessed-esque DM riff alternates with two main thrashier riffs, one fast and one just about midpaced. Yes, there is a whole fuckload of thrash influence in here, and that is what makes it so damn good. This is death metal the way it is meant to be, with good solid amounts of Death and Possessed influence, but with the brutality cranked up another notch.
Great intro on "Dismembered", they manage to build up in a very melodic fashion into a brutal banger of a number. Then, check out the "Sepultura on crack" riff around 4.15 in. That sounds like a more technical "Schizophrenia" riff, and then possibly the coolest solo of the entire album. This is definitely the album at its best, and we continue with the awesome "Skin her fucking alive!!!!" with a really over-the-top (loud in the mix!) solo that just plain works awesome - imagine Judas Priest gone necro, that's what that solo is.
Sickening Art is more thrashy, especially with the first overt riff, at around 0.15 in - then it speeds up, before going into an excellent extended middle section - awesome fast riffage with some soloing over it then leads into a slower, more brutal bridge part and then one more solo.
In Death's Sleep is another very solid number, especially the midpaced brooding Sabbath-esque intro that leads into the swirling buildup riff, with the keyboards used very tastefully and very well. Fucking great use of melody! Then it gets brutal as fuck by the end, while still maintaining excellent headbang-ability and cohesion.
Defective Decay has probably the most overt thrash riff to be found here, a middle break not at all out of place on an Overkill or Nuclear Assault album, except, again, heavy as Hell. Torn Apart screams out "old fucking Death" just about as much as the Mutilation demo itself.
Overall, what we have here is a solid fucking DM album - this is the way the genre is meant to be done. This will please all the kiddies that want something br000tal, while making sense to those that want to be able to bang their heads to solid fucking thrash-based riffage without an excess "tickticktick" of dumb grindcore drumming (Suckbid Angel, I'm looking at you)... add to that some top notch lead guitars, some tastefully used keyboards, and excellent vocals that fit the context of the album (none of this power-metal-with-harsh-vocals to be found here). Excellent stuff. A highlight of the genre.