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Released in September 1991, on Corpse Grinder Records, Dissection's Into Infinite Obscurity E.P. served as a harbinger of doom to come. Having formed in 1989 and already released a demo titled The Grief Prophecy, Dissection was showing signs of future greatness. Where some bands have to play for several years to become tight enough to create something brilliant, these Swedes wasted little time in doing so. Early on, there was some confusion as to whether this band was to be considered Black or Death Metal. Perhaps, the overall sound of this E.P. added to the mystery, but the style of the melodies and vocals, as well as the lyrical content, are proof enough that this is far blacker than what their Swedish contemporaries were up to, around this time.
It begins with "Shadows Over A Lost Kingdom". The sound is a little thicker and more bottom-heavy than the version that would later apear on The Somberlain. However, the melodies are the same and still freeze your very soul upon listening. The vocals are somewhat gargled, by comparison to the sound that is present on the full-lengths. This is almost similar to what Tompa was doing in Grotesque. The guitar sound is a little fuzzy, which adds to the atmosphere, though the it is not as sharp and frigid as on the album version. The songwriting already displays a level of skill that exceeds many other bands who were already recording full albums, at this point. The playing is tight and it is obvious that this song was well though-out already, as it did not change between the E.P. and L.P.
"Son of the Mourning" is next, featuring more blasphemous lyrics and a slightly more intense approach. Despite the raw sound, this possesses memorable melodies that will haunt your mind. One could say that this song has more in common with the Scandinavian Death Metal sound, though it is still quite distinct. Again, the vocals are deeper than on later releases, yet still raspy. There is more of a contrast between this song and the re-recorded version found on the Where Dead Angels Lie E.P. than between the previous song and its later incarnation.
It all ends with "Into Infinite Obscurity". This is a sorrowful acoustic piece that bears a mournful feeling, though not entirely bleak. There is some sense of sadness present, though joined by an overwhelming feeling of relief as you are soon to descend beneath the surface of the earth, forever to be removed from this hellish world.
Into Infinite Obscurity served as a good starting point for a band that would go on to cement their legacy as one of the most legendary groups in Metal. As good as it is, these songs are but mere hints of the brilliance that was to follow.
These songs would all end up on future albums (Son of Mourning on Where Dead Angels Lie and the other two on The Somberlain), but the performance here is a bit different. The style is definitely death metal, as Dissection hadn't explored black metal yet. The songs would end up also on The Past Is Alive, and the nature of that compilation would allow you to see the progression Dissection made.
However, these songs would end up being the more primitive songs on the Somberlain, and lacked even the charm of the other Somberlain songs. Lacking in the intensity of Storm Of the Light's Bane, and the technical insight of The Somberlain, these songs were a good effort, though and any Dissection fan should line up to get this. However, get the others first; this EP is not as matured as the future albums. I said it before and I'll say it again, Storm of the Light's Bane reigns supreme, with cold riffs and a gripping atmosphere and superior performance. Part of the problem is the production; it's dry and inconsistent, while being a bit garbled. It isn't as clear as The Somberlain, nor as cold and epic and icy as Storm of the Light's Bane. The picture presented by the production here is not complete, so the experience isn't, either.
Make no mistake, this is not bad. It is just like the somberlain but with less matured songwriting and an incomplete production.