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Already, after the recording of Storm of the Light's Bane, Jon Nödtveidt faced problems with the line-up of Dissection. His subsequent conviction of being an accessory to murder, in 1998, left him imprisoned for several years. During this time, music that had already begun to take shape was worked on and transformed over time. By 2004, Jon was released and, immediately, put all of his energy toward the rebirth of Dissection.
Many fans had waited since 1995 for another Dissection L.P. Others had discovered the band after it had been put on hold, yet they too still had certain expectations. The statements that were issued from Jon, even back in 2003, indicated that he planned to take the music world by storm as soon as he was released, and that Dissection would burn the metal scene to ashes.
After waiting for several years, I had been patiently looking forward to more icy, cold hymns of nocturnal majesty. Finally, in November 2004, the wait was over. I was in Stockholm, set to preview the Maha Kali E.P. at the record store. My initial reaction was of disappointment and even confusion. This was not at all what I expected.
As soon as "Maha Kali" begins, it becomes apparent that the bitter cold melodies of the past were no more. The sound here is much more bottom-heavy and mid-paced. As for the sound, some of this may be due to the fact that the guitar and vocals were actually recorded in prison, in 2003. The song seems somewhat similar to, yet not quite as interesting as, "Where Dead Angels Lie". The version that appears on Reinkaos is superior, though this is not without some charm as well, once one gets past any and all expectations that they may have held for years.
"Unhallowed (Rebirth Version)" is next. Musically, the playing is tight and concise. However, it really lacks the cold atmosphere from the original. Still, much like a live recording, it is interesting to see a different take of the song, done so many years later and with several new band members. Probably, this was done to show that the band was quite capable of performing the classic Dissection material. Jon's vocals sound very good, without being rusty or degenerated as one might expect after so long.
Over time, my opinion has changed. Listening to it now, I find this E.P. to be an interesting and worthwhile release, as it gave everyone an opportunity to get used to the changes that were to come on the next album. Maha Kali serves as sort of a bridge from the old to the new, featuring new material that would indicate the direction the band was going in and a classic song, just to show that they have not forgotten the roots of the band.
Well, I can't say that this thing was worth $10, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. With the length that it is, there's little in it for anyone who is not simply too eager to get the new Dissection album. There's only two songs, and "Unhallowed" is a major step down from that which was recorded on Storm of the Light's Bane. But hey, the booklet is rather nifty.
Having started that off on this bad note, I shall list off what I don't like about this first. The biggest thing has to be the production. The bass is too loud, which really sucks if you play it on a shitty stereo (like I own), and that robs it of the old, "cold" feel of Dissection. The guitars sound somewhat weak, but they were recorded in prison. And as many have said, the drums are not as powerful as they could be. I can't say that they sound sloppy to me, but Tomas Asklund was recently recruited for this recording and he follows in the footsteps of Faust, Ole Ohman and Mattias Kjellgren (is that his name), who are very lively and powerful drummers.
Okay, having said that, I really do enjoy "Maha Kali." It may be melodic, but it's catchy as hell, and way more powerful that the current output from In Flames, for example. Jon's vocals still sound vicious, and I have to say that his lead guitar skills have really improved. The female vocal part really builds up well into a strange vortex at the end.
The rebirth version on "Unhallowed" really lacks the punch of the original, and I blame it partly on the production, which really sucks during the fast parts. Sure, its well played, but just listen to how thin the guitar sounds in the verse parts. Ouch.
People, please keep in mind that Jon's been locked up for seven years, and this come a full 9 years after their last album. I would expect one to progress and change that much in that time, and Jon's no different. He could have played it safe and made something along the lines of what he did before, but I have to admire him for trying something different. The other two tracks from the new album, "Xeper-i-set" and "Starless Aeon," sound much better than this, I must say.
Hey, at least it's not Risk, Saint Anger, Jugulator or Never Say Die!
I approached this recording with the best of intentions but ultimately, another eight dollars has been pissed away never to return and this time, on a mere two songs, one of which we've already heard a far superior version. How ironic but I was the fool to purchase this, soon to be beer coaster, in the first place. I was under the false impression that this micro ep might share some similarities with the latest rough mix tracks on their website, "Starless Aeon" in particular and "Xeper-I-Set" to a lesser extent; both of which rocked out severely. The chorus on "Starless.." is instantly addicting, with an immediate response of violent head movement. "Maha Kali", on the other hand, is neither inspired, nor powerful or interesting. The production here is clear but as bland as a stale bread stick. It would have been substantially more interesting and perhaps even threatening to hear this recorded on a Sony handheld voice recorder perhaps. To some things up, the title of this review reminds me of a statement made by Hunter Thompson about Bush Senior's dismal second presidential run in that his efforts seemed, "placental". Afterbirth indeed unfortunately, however the latest tracks have overwhelming promise. Hopefully, they will remain rough mixes and not have their vitality sucked away as to sound like a sterile vacuum of claustrophic audio.
...because this isn't the same Dissection that was born back in 1989. It seems that the Dissection that released the classics The Somberlain and Storm of the Lights Bane was sucked back into the dark, evil, and satanic womb that it was first given birth from and was shot back out as a softer and a more mellow Gothenburg band. Dissection without a doubt went through a major change while Jon was in prison, but unfortunately, it wasn't for the better...
Alright, "Maha Kali" isn't a terrible song, it's just disappointing that Dissection is the band that released it. The song has some good melodies and riffs here and there, but overall, the song is pretty weak sounding, isn't very diverse in tempo, and isn't something you would expect from such a band like Dissection. I just hope when the new album is released, not all the songs are like this, or the reborn Dissection wil suffer from a pre-mature death...
The re-recorded version of "Unhallowed" isn't that bad. Actually, it's quite enjoyable. I've always liked re-recordings of old songs for some reason, and even though the first version of the song is usually better, it's still fun to listen to them. This is also the case with the Unhallowed re-recording. The first version from Storm of the Lights Bane is definitly better, but this version is still good. The only thing is that the guitar isn't as strong sounding as the original version, since it's the same sound as the Maha Kali recording.
When bands that I've been into like In Flames and Metallica (even though the Metallica albums that have been released in the last ten years have all sucked ass) started to go completely downhill, I was waiting for Dissection to come back with some new kick ass material, but sadly, that's not the case with this one...but hey, this is only one new song. Maybe all of the new album won't sound like this. There's still hope....
Pioneers are called just that because they're either innovative or doing something out of the ordinary. The ironic thing about being in such position is that these so called "pioneers" would want to abandon what they were known for (case study: Metallica, In Flames, Sepultura, Mayhem, Dissection...?!)
So Jon was jailed for sometime now (about a good 8-10 years) but did he lose some memory while in prison? Sure, he probably had some problems here and there in prison with cellmates and all (probably had a run-in with “Big Bubba”,) but this is just what many metalheads are calling a "tragedy" in Dissections case. Going down the Gothenburg road?! The band was always known for their blend of melodic black and death metal, but now they're leaning more to melodic death... the "Gothenburg" kind. Those years in prison must have done some damage on Jon I assume...
This single is titled "Maha Kali," which is something Jon has a new interest in now (what happened to the Satanic side?) Jon has become spiritual, and this "rebirth" of Dissection has changed to from great to worse. This album is NOTHING like their previous stuff. "The Somberlain" was an alright album and a very promising start, and "Storm Of The Lights Bane" became an instant classic in the underground and beyond; now here's Maha Kali, which incorporates NOTHING black metal what-so-ever or "evil" sounding.
If I could make a comparison, this album sounds a lot like In Flames' "The Jester Race" and "Whoracle." Maybe Whoracle is a bit exaggerative, but it surely sounds a lot like the early Anders Friden era of In Flames (this in my mind is not a good quality if ya didn't the idea yet.) They still maintain heaviness in their music, but it's not the kind Dissection was known for with their intense speed, demonic growls, howling guitars and so on (I must say that the drum work is superb though... nothing different about it.) This reeks Gothenburg... the guitars are very melodic and slow and the vocal work is not as demonic as the past two full length releases. Since when did Dissection have female vocals in their music anyway?! The song "Maha Kali" incorporates some female vocals in the middle of the song, sounding very much like a Cradle Of Filth moment (which isn't a good thing at all!) That first track is basically a signal to take a quick power nap.
So this is quite a huge disappointment, but up next is "Unhallowed"... the so called rebirth version. They try making this sound like a positive thing and I believed it would be cool to hear a remake of the song, but boy was I wrong. As most of you might know, the original Unhallowed song was probably one of the fastest and best songs on the "Storm..." album, but in 2004, it's a watered down Gothenburg piece of crap. They really did a bad job at recreating this beautiful masterpiece of a song; it's a bit slower, not appealing... and this is NOT how Unhallowed was created! And oh yes, remember that little outro part to the song, where it's like a minute acoustic part? I personally thought that was a great way to end Unhallowed with a per-se soft ending, but they took that away on the remake! "Unhallowed" should now be changed to "Hallow" because it's empty of its sinister quality.
This indeed is a rebirth... because Dissection is now officially Gothenburg (or at least I hope they aren't going to be like this forever.) I was really expecting something great from this so called single, but of course, I came out empty handed. Then again, I shouldn't complain because I did get this single from a used section in my local metal store ($1.99) This should've been a signal to me then again because I've never ever seen a Dissection release in a used section... and this was the first time. In the near future, if they keep going with this watered down sound, I'm pretty sure I'll keep seeing Dissection releases in used sections of any metal store.
It's definitely something new (or should I say "nu") but if you're ever in the mood to feel disappointed, then this is THE single to listen to.
Ear Candy: Judging from this review, would you think anything would be appealing?
To make it short, this MCD is boring. The 2nd song "Unhallowed" was already featured on the "Storm Of... LP" and the "Live Legacy" LP in different and my opinion far far better versions, so I take care of the other song "Maha Kali".
It already starts with an extremly boring intro-guitar riff. The sound is the next experience. Crappy produced, too less guitar-power and guitar-volume, too loud drums and too loud bass. Is someone like John Zweetslot or Johan Norman missing for the extra spice in the guitar-section which is now completly lacking ? And then it keeps repeating and repeating. Jon is singing in a good way, but the other guys are not able to make a fantastic song out from a boring composition. The female vocals don't fit at all in the middle of the song. And stop chanting "Maha Kali" all the time. That sounds, what else, boring.
I saw this band live some weeks ago, when Jon announced "to play a new song for you" which was "Maha Kali". This song was a let-down for the audience. It differs too much from their high quality of the older Dissection stuff. I hope they wait with recording more stuff before they
a) have better songs
b) have decided to go to a bette studio
c) have some more better songs
d) don't do the same mistake as Tiamat. Tiamat also announced a "new song" on the Wildhoney tour in '95, and this was the beginning of the end for them in my musical taste, as the song was totally different and absolutely boring (more PINK FLOYD influenced) than all their other material. Would be sad to see them evolving also in a different direction which "Maha Kali" for me is.
When I first heard the new song on this single, I was incredibly disappointed... It seemed that the energy and majesty of Dissection had gone, and that teh song was boring and mid-paced...
However, after listening to itseveral times, Maha Kali grew on me immensely up to the point where I have been listening to the song every day. The slightly offbeat nature of the rhythm is what had thrown me at first, however, this is just an example of Dissection's musical experimentation and the use of structures usually uncommon in metal.
Nodtveidt's voice burns with conviction as he sings this hymn to the dark goddess, and the lyrics are clear even though the vocals are in a lighter black metal style.
The one thing which I find irritating about this song however, and which detracts from its majesty is the Indian-style female singing. Even though it makes sense in terms of Kali being an Indian goddess, unfortunately it totally does not fit in with the martial atmosphere of European metal. It may add originality, but still spoils the song for me.
The rebirth version of Unhallowed has a less intense and dark atmosphere than the original, with the production reminding me of Thorns and Satyricon in the more dense and fast parts. However, the song's varied rhythm's are better executed by the new lineup, as they seemed too rushed and inexact on the original version.
In the end, this is a worthy return for Dissection - while not entirely what everyone expected, it is a strong and original recording in its own right, and does not rely on rehashing the past sound of Dissection, opting for progression within its framework instead. It will be very interesting what the new album will be like.
I was not expecting this from a great band like dissection. This EP is crap. Dissection did not meet up to the standards they set on The Somberlain or Storm of the light's bane. Jon Nödtveidt voice sounds awful. Maha Kali is an awful song. The coordination between the drums and guitar is poor. The guitars, vocals and drums just don’t fit together to make a good song. The melodies are horrible. Maha Kali basically sounds like a metalcore band trying to play melodic black metal. Unhallowed starts awesome. Insane drum and guitar work. But as soon as Jon starts singing the song goes terrible. Jon sounds a lot like Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir). The guitar work is atrocious. This EP lacks good vocal delivery and drum work. Tomas Asklund is a horrible drummer. Mainly because of him this EP stinks a lot. His drum work sounds like he just blindfolded himself and pounded on any piece of drum equipment around him. I was really excited about this EP but I wish I had never heard it. Dissection has lost my respect. The only reason im giving this EP a 10 is because of the solo on Unhallowed.
As I was hoping Dissection would return with something great, and now that I've listened to this I'm sure the new album will be anything else than bad. There's not much to say about this single, as it contains two songs; Maha Kali, a new song, and Unhallowed, a re-recorded song from the previous album. But on to the songs:
Maha Kali [06:01]
This is actually excellent, but if the whole album is going to be like this, it might get a bit boring after a while, but alone this song is great.
It starts off with something that reminds me of Einherjer, with the drumbeat, and midway it goes into an acoustic part with clean vocals that's done very well, and the female vocals gives a nice touch to it all, although I'm not a big fan of female vocals.
The solo on this is actually very good, yet a little lifeless. It would be better if it was played with more feeling. The production is also a bit worse than the previous albums, but not bad at all
But as said before in the reviews of this, the best thing about this is Jon's vocals. Damn that guy can do his vocals.
Unhallowed (Rebirth Version) [06:05]
Not much to say about this, really, as it sounds about the same as the original version, but it's completely re-recorded with Jon's great vocals, and the new production (that's a bit worse than the last album), and the song is still a good song, and is it just me, or is the "with liftened dreadful swords..."-part catchy?
Anyway, to sum it all up. I like this single, but I hope the whole album won't be like Maha Kali, because then it's probably going to be pretty boring. But together with a nice song like Unhallowed it's excellent.
I've heard a lot of nasty rumors about this single, and I'm sure many people have. A short clip from the title song, Maha Kali, was posted on Dissection's site, and many people (myself included) were extremely disappointed with it.
Then after the show in Slovenia, I decided to buy the single (perhaps me being dead drunk had somethin to do with it hehe) and give it a few spins in my CD player.
And you know what, I like what I hear. Maha Kali is a slower song, a bit thrashier than the old Dissection music. I like the beginning with the cool guitar riff, after that the song does slow down a bit and tends to drag for a while, but when Jon's clean vocals and the female chanting kick in, I'm sold!
A very catchy song, sounded good live, even better on the CD, although the production does leave something to be desired, the sound is still okay, but I got the feeling as if listening to some solo project, where sometimes some things may not be as tight as they should.
The other and last song on the disc is a new version of the song Unhallowed. Not much to say about it here; not as good as the original and not all that different in sound, so it offers nothing new.
All in all, it's a good single, certainly not Jon's best work, but also not the piece of crap so many people said it is.
I know that it is very easy to exaggerate your disappointment when a long awaited release doesn't meet expectations. I know that it has been eight years since any new material has been heard from Dissection. It was inevitable that there would be significant change, for better or worse. Maybe the ridiculous hype about 'the return' makes the disappointment of this release even greater. I just hope that this song and re-recording are no indication of where Dissection as a whole is headed.
In a word, this release is sterile. The ferocity and unrestrained sensibility that has been Dissection's sound is gone. The dynamic song structures, tempo changes, contrast between heavy and melodic... gone. Most importantly, the human feeling is gone. The production is completely different. The drums sound like midi, the guitar tone really has no bite to it, and while Jon's vocal tone is still great, the processing and mix wash them out quite a bit. As a whole, Maha Kali is just slow and boring.
The re-recording of Unhallowed sounds a lot different. The structure and parts themselves aren't much different, but the production and execution totally change the feel. It seems completely mismatched. One of the things that made Dissection so good was that they were able to balance quality production values with a raw, natural sound. That balance is lost.
There is only so much you can say about a two song single with one new song. Here is to hoping this is just a bump in the road.
Dissection has been reborn. From melodic Death/Black into completely harmless non-extreme music with growled vocals. "Maha Kali" lacks everything that made Dissection worth listening to in the first place. It lacks intensity, speed, passion, structure and atmosphere.
Contrary to their reputation, I never thought Dissection were one of the leading extreme metal bands in their time. They were an okay band. But this is simply a load of shit. Dumb repetitive Gothenburg riffs are blended with cheesy spoken vocals and female voices who sound like they could be in a Cradle of Filth single. The only tolerable part is when Jon sings with his Black Metal voice. Avoid "Maha Kali" at any cost.
Also featured on the single is a polished remake of "Unhallowed". It's a completely unnecessary one, as it not surprisingly lacks the passion of the original.