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Here comes the groove machine. - 60%

hells_unicorn, September 25th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Nuclear Blast

It is often said that the mid 90s was the pinnacle of death metal's popularity, and that by extension it was a good time for the genre. This is true if a band was in the Gothenburg business as At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity were, or if playing down-tempo, groovy material was the goal, but the old school thrashing sound was actually a very different story. Many of the prime movers in the early 90s in Sweden were swallowed up by the melodeath or the death n' roll craze, or in the case of Dismember, both simultaneously, as can be surmised by the fairly confused affair that is Massive Killing Capacity. This album opts out of esoteric or gore based themes for a war-like posture that is a bit comical in its delivery, mostly due to the heavily contrived nature of this album's contents.

It's understandable that given the changing musical landscape that a band of this sort would find itself confused on which way to go, but the end results are not terribly engaging. Just about everything on here shows a band that is intent on hitting the same territory that was covered on Entombed's debatable classic Wolverine Blues (this reviewer didn't particularly care for it), and dressing it up with a few Gothenburg touched and some fancier guitar solos. The only times that things really break into thrashing territory is the lone up tempo song "On Frozen Fields", which sounds like a better version of a thrash infused number off of Dark Tranquillity's Skydancer with a few more technical chops, and the closing song "Life - Another Shape Of Sorrow", which is similarly painted with sorrowful melodies but goes a little closer to familiar territory for this band.

Apart from this, the entirety of this album feels punishingly restrained, neither reaching into that extreme slowness that can bode well for a sorrowful melodic infused death metal sound, nor attempting to mix things up with some faster elements. The majority of these songs come off as bland and almost Pantera-like at times, such as the two pure crappers "Wardead" and "Casket Garden", both of which almost sound like rejects from Messiah's 1994 abortion Underground prior to them disbanding. Others such as "I Saw Them Die" and "Hallucigenia" are a bit better, but tend to coast on a few decent groove riffs and never really break out of the mold. Others still move into overt Gothenburg territory while staying slower, such as "Collection By Blood", which sound so utterly derivative of the Slaughter Of The Soul sound that they come off as out of place with the Entombed influenced material.

This doesn't quite descend to the level of being bad, but it is definitely well below par for what this band is capable of. This isn't to necessarily say that nothing good came out of the Gothenburg style or death n' roll, but Dismember doesn't particularly sound good when trying to outright copy these styles. Individual songs on here such as the more thrashing ones and even some of the somber melodic ones like the instrumental "Nenia" actually sound fairly strong, but collectively this album is a disjointed mess and all but comes off as a desperate attempt to tag along with an new emerging style with the promise of more appeal. This is the worst album that Dismember ever put out, and thankfully what is found on it was not repeated.

Fantastic Melodic Death Metal - 92%

KriegdemKriege, December 15th, 2013

Dismember was a Swedish band well known, alongside their contemporaries in Entombed, for pioneering the signature Swedish death metal sound. They are often lauded for their groundbreaking 1991 debut, Like an Ever Flowing Stream, and not without reason. The album stands as a landmark death metal release and a true genre classic. It would be unfair, however, to praise the debut without making note of the two other extremely strong efforts the band put forth in the first half of the 1990’s. One of them, Indecent & Obscene, was very much a sequel to the debut; it featured a very similar sound and atmosphere and was a worthy follow-up. The other record released during this time period was a little more experimental. Massive Killing Capacity, Dismember’s third full-length release, showed a change in style that added a much stronger emphasis on melody than previous releases. This new emphasis resulted in an excellent album that manages to express emotion through the melodic guitar work without losing any of the brutal edge present on previous releases. Massive Killing Capacity is an essential album in Dismember’s discography and stands among the best melodic death metal albums of the 1990’s.

While Dismember had included a fair amount of melody on their previous albums – with “Override of the Overture” off of Like an Ever Flowing Stream serving as an excellent example of this – Massive Killing Capacity differs from the albums that came before it in that melody, as opposed to sheer brutality, is clearly the album’s focus. Every track features impressive melodic guitar work that adds an emotional depth to the music not present on the more straightforward death metal of previous releases. “On Frozen Fields” is a great example of this, with the track beginning with an extremely melodic tremolo-picked riff that drives the rest of the song. The track “Collection by Blood” further emphasizes the album’s focus on melody, featuring some of the most expressive leads on the album. “Collection by Blood” is not only a clear album highlight; it also stands among the best songs Dismember has ever written.

The guitar work on this album truly is impressive, with the band’s instrumental skills being demonstrated far beyond anything featured on previous albums. Not only are the majority of its tracks driven by catchy, emotional melodies, many songs also feature lengthy and expressive solos by guitarist David Blomqvist. There is some excellent bass work featured on the album as well, with instrumental track “Nenia”’s second half being based around a soothing bass melody. “Nenia” stands as a unique piece in the Dismember discography, being one of only two instrumental tracks the band ever released. This exclusivity is a shame, for the piece shows musical depth to the band’s work rarely expressed on other albums. The instrumental is well-composed and flows along very well; if it was the band’s idea of an experiment it was an incredible success.

It must also be noted that Massive Killing Capacity features a surprisingly strong hardcore punk influence, something that may seem strange alongside the new focus on melodicism. While this is an element Dismember would develop further on future releases, notably 2000’s Hate Campaign, Massive Killing Capacity is the album where the punk influence really begins to make itself noticeable. This influence can be best seen in Matti Kärki’s vocal performance on the album, a performance consisting of a shouted style of vocals that recall the aggressive vocals of early hardcore. While Kärki had used the shouted vocal style on Dismember’s previous albums, the style was performed on those releases alongside more guttural vocals typical of the death metal style. On Massive Killing Capacity one notes the complete absence of any guttural vocals, with the shouted style being expressed exclusively. This in no way detracts from the quality of the album’s vocals; Kärki is an exceptional vocalist and the shouted style fits the music quite well. The punk influence is also present in the music and song structure of several tracks on the album. “Wardead” and “Casket Garden” are the two standout examples of this, with both featuring catchy choruses and simplistic, punk-esque riffs. These songs serve as a fun addition to an otherwise rather serious album.

One of the best things about this album is that Dismember keeps the running time brief. The album is just long enough to demonstrate the band’s diversity and talent, and short enough to make a lasting impression and enhance replay value. There is absolutely no filler on this album. Every song has a purpose, and Dismember knows how to make their point without any unnecessary repetition. The album’s 37-minute run time makes its presence known and does not overstay its welcome. It also ends in a very strong fashion, with closer “Life - Another Shape of Sorrow” standing as another album highlight. The song features surprisingly strong lyrics and some of the album’s best melodies, and concludes with an interesting keyboard part played underneath a vocal sample.

All in all, Massive Killing Capacity is a fantastic album that should not be overlooked. Fans of melodic death metal would do well to give this a listen, as well as anyone looking for some fun, fast-paced death metal with some interesting twists. This album has all the makings of a classic, second to only Like an Ever Flowing Stream in Dismember’s discography. Truly one of the band’s greatest moments.

Album Highlights: “Collection by Blood”, “Nenia”, “On Frozen Fields”, “Life – Another Shape of Sorrow”

A Bridge Too Far - 73%

OzzyApu, June 4th, 2011

Two tracks from this album suck balls: “Wardead” and “Casket Garden” (and “Justifiable Homicide” if you have that song on your copy). These same tracks were included on the Casket Garden EP and should have only appeared on that release. Ideally, they should have never been released or recorded, but in the end they were, and that’s why this album gets knocked down hard. Massive Killing Capacity already has some faults that make it inferior to most of the other Dismember albums, but these tracks in particular are shit.

So with that out of the way, this album goes in a more Gothenburg direction than the first two albums. They wouldn’t touch on this sound heavily until later albums, but here is where the sound is very apparent in the riffs. It’s that, plus the drop in deafening power do to the production, that make this album sound less aggressive than every other Dismember album. The music is still wretched death metal, but it’s got less force to it. The riffs also have a touch of groove to them, much like what Entombed was doing with Wolverine Blues. Thankfully Dismember ditched the idea with the next album, but what they experimented with remains on this album.

For instance, instead of the usual cut-throat growls that Kärki nails on each album, he goes for really lame harsh yelling on tracks like “Wardead” and “Casket Garden”. These yells are highly annoying and are along the same lines of what Petrov did in Entombed at the time. As if the vocals weren’t the only thing to butcher, the riffs were also toyed with. If you dig the death ‘n’ roll style, then you’ll be fine (for the most part), and for “Casket Garden” the riff isn’t terrible, but it’s still a far cry from the goodness that Dismember is capable of. They accomplish deeper compositions on the other tracks, but those two (and “Justifiable Homicide”) are the dumbed-down tracks that accomplish very little. The aforementioned stains on Dismember’s lengthy career are surrounded, however, by more compelling tracks like the poignant “Life – Another Shape Of Sorrow”, the ferocious “To The Bone”, the harmonic “On Frozen Fields,” and the elegant instrumental “Nenia” (very akin to “Dreaming In Red”). Estby’s consistent drumming isn’t as hellish as before, by the way, but it gets the job done as the main companion to the riffs and bass.

Massive Killing Capacity could have been another staple in death metal, but a few lame tracks and a stunted production job keep it from becoming such an entity. No doubt a few tracks make it into my favorites from Dismember (notably “Nenia”), but the sum is less astounding than the parts. This is all by Dismember’s standards, of course, for in death metal it’s a pretty good album. What it does accomplish is moving Dismember into more melodic / Gothenburg territory, but such is a bridge too far for this band.

Not quite filled to capacity - 75%

autothrall, November 8th, 2009

1995 was a pretty big year for Swedish death metal. At the Gates released their classic Slaughter of the Soul which would change the landscape of metal worldwide, and the melodic death scene was starting to make a large buzz around Dark Tranquillity's The Gallery. But for one of Sweden's original death metal demolition teams, Dismember, it was just business as usual, as they issued their third full-length. This is never a band I've been entirely in love with, as I don't find many of their albums to be consistent: a few good tracks, then the rest I can pass on. And while I still enjoy Life is an Everflowing Stream (their debut) most, Massive Killing Capacity is one of their better overall efforts.

"I Saw Them Die" starts off slowly with a pummeling, groovy pace, some somber melodies play alongside the chords and the track should please any fan of the Dismember/Entombed style. The title track has some nice death metal tones and a chugging verse. "On Frozen Fields" is one of the best here, with a melodic riff that eclipses into a doomy set of chords beneath the vocals. Other strong points are the pluggy and thrashy "Wardead", the dark and groovy "Justifiable Homicide" and of course the catchy "Casket Garden" which spawned its own EP.

The entire work roils in that typical Swedish tone, but Dismember have delivered a pretty clean production. Unfortunately, this derives the music of some of its sloppiness and heaviness, which in the case of these sorts of bands, is almost always preferred. Massive Killing Capacity is a tight album, and fans of Entombed's Wolverine Blues or Clandestine would enjoy it as a backup, though this band has never gone very far down the death'n'roll path of their peers (you can hear a smidgen of that style on this album but nowhere else in their career).

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Certainly lives up to its name. - 93%

Shadespawn, April 25th, 2009

"Take me away from here
To a place without fear"

Here we have yet another great, monstrous release from Swedish death metal masters Dismember. While other bands call it quits in their mid-era, experiment with industrial or even avant-garde, Dismember have always been true to their scene and more importantly, their music. "Massive Killing Capacity" is a juggernaught of extravagance, bringing death and destruction to everything in its path.

The true spirit of a band's work can be felt through every note played, through every drumbeat and every breath of air pushed through the trachea of the vocalist(s). Music always has been and always will be more than just shallow notes and words accompanied by rhythmic drums. This album is the best example for heavy metal done with so much feeling for the music, that it's almost terrifying. Much of today's death metal scene (if you could still call it that way) is filled with watered down bullshit. The reason why bands such as Dismember or Entombed manage to stand out and excel as a death metal killing machine, is that they play not just with their instruments, but with feeling and that's what it's all about.

"Massive Killing Capacity". A hell of a name, if you ask me. Now take a closer look at it together with the artwork and tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Yes, mother of all... that looks pretty damn cheesy and imposing at the same time. Is that the Dismember band logo on that thing? Are those giant chainsaws as arms with all-round gunfire? Ohhh yes. Right from the first track onwards, Dismember waste no time in getting straight to damn business. "I saw them die" is the perfect way to start. No fancy intros, no dramatic synths, just straight to the point. A flowing, wonderfully distorted guitar tone distinguishes this album's heaviness. Bursting with anger at times and firing an energic or a soulful, jazzy solo at others, the tracks know no limits to their creativity. Not a single riff on this piece of death metal is boring, in fact they are all awesome, be it slow and sluggish or fast and furious. Drum patters of course give the whole Moloch a nice rock'n'roll feeling to it. While some songs (ex. Hallucigenia) tend to calm down a bit, most of them are simply marvellous aggression explosions. "Collection by blood" is a good example on how to be brutal and melodic at the same time, but this is a fairly rare trait of Dismember, but you can still see the parallels to modern day clones who repeat the whole note/open string/major second lower/open string/minor second lower/open string... etc. you get the picture.

"I lived my life
Finally the end is here"

While this may be Dismember's black sheep to some, I find no reason to not like this album, if you like quality Swedish death metal. Some even say Dismember ripped Entombed off. While the two bands are close friends, they play the same style of music. The major difference is that Entombed's sound is more dreary. Not to mention the vocal style that differs drastically. It is hard to say which band I like more, both are amazing slabs of Swedish farmer death metal and that is a quality you must learn to cherish.

Massive Killing Capacity has Melodies Inside... - 91%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, November 13th, 2008

First of all, look at the cover artwork! Now, tell me if there’s somebody who, at the occurrence, doesn’t want to be that fucking monster-war machine, with all those missiles, machine guns and bullets…this cover artwork is just amazing and the music is just a base for some more violence from these Swedish death metal masters. Yes, because Dismember now are a mature band and usually the third album marks either the downfall of a band or the definitive consecration. Massive Killing Capacity has the second privilege.

The lesser melodic influences we could find on Indecent and Obscene album are now exploded on this one, conserving the brutality of the death metal made in Sweden. The production is again ultra clear, sharp like a blade of that monster through your flesh and all the instruments have acquired a lot of power, bass included that, usually, is always a bit hidden. Here it’s pulsing, loud and here to add more power to the guitars. The vocals are angry, loud and massive with that screamed tonality and the rough approach. “I Saw Them Die” is representative of this evolution: it’s mid-paced, has lots of tempo changes and melodic guitars lines.

The riffs are catchy but always brutal, monolithic and essential. The title track shows far heavier riffs and a different structure that points of the speed of the guitars and the less fast drums patterns. Here too we find catchy rhythmic guitars lines and more melodic solos but everything remains extreme. The real song-masterpiece comes with “On Frozen Fields” because the tremolo picking has more melody on it and has the privilege of remaining stuck in your head for lots of day. This song also shows the very first up tempo parts. Check out the middle section of “To the Bone” with a lot of melodic lines and the solos, among a forest of grooving riffs. Fantastic.

“Warhead” is the classic hit of brutal, relentless death metal in the Swedish way and it contains also galloping riffs, while “Hallucigenia” returns to mid-paced progressions with catchier parts and dark lead lines. In these cases the riffs are in a good mix between the palm muting technique and the lead style. The same, even sadder style can be found in “Collection by Blood” that is another hit here. The melodies take a lot of parts from the new (for the period) melodic death metal that wasn’t yet melodeath and that is good. “Casket Garden” is another great track, one of the best here because displays ultra heavy patterns under mid-paced parts and everything is amplified here in brutality.

The refrains are always catchy and with “Nenia” this band embraces again the melodic death metal influences to create a sorrowfilled scenario, like during a red dusk. This song is jus awesome and once again is not fast, pointing everything on the pure melody, like if the band says: “Hey, we can play in lots of genres but we always create extremely good music”. The same can be said for the last “Life-Another Shape of Sorrow” where, to the melodic overtures they mix also fast up tempo parts and more violent solutions. The organ sounds and the prayers put the end to a great album, the best so far for Dismember.

All in all, this is an album that could shock a bit the purists of death metal for its melodies but it remains a great piece of music in all its forms and Dismember also displayed a great sense of songwriting in order to result perfectly balanced between melody and classic rawness.

Swedish Fascination - 80%

gone_homocide, March 2nd, 2007

This album simply put is mystifying. This is my favorite Swedish death metal bands and this is one of my preferred Swedish cds. The complexity of the riffs and the gnarling vocals make a great combination. Unlike most other Swedish death metal bands this album does not get repetitive every song has its own unique sound to it.

This album to me has a doom like feel to it everything is depressing and misanthropic sounding and I have no problem with that because the sound is brutal. The guitar riffs are most amazing yet the drumming lacks. The intensity of the guitar and drums don’t equal each other when they should they are on two different wave lengths it seems and the drumming gets repetitive.

The album has its high points and its low points. I Saw Them Die is a weak album starter but it picks up after that. The aggression and anger expressed in the lyrics is very well devoloped and well expressed throughout the whole cd. This album holds a distinguished instrumental track called Nenia which has some really cool guitar riffs. The Casket Garden is not a slower song but is very well laid out and rocks.

This album is great its not the best its not close to the worst Dismember ever produced. I prefer Death Metal over this album but that is my opinion this is still a great release.

Perfect - 100%

yogsothoth, April 16th, 2006

I don't consider many albums to be 100 percents, but this album qualifies. I truly don't understand why so many people bag on this album. The riffs are very heavy and very catchy. My roommate's girlfriend just walked in on me air-guitaring and headbanging to the main riff of the title track. Every single song has that effect on me. The riffs are aggressive, intense, and they are some of my favorite riffs from any death metal album.

This album is a little different from other death metal releases in that the drumming is not ridiculously fast, there's not a whole bunch of fluttering kick drum rolls, and it's not incredibly complex. It's pretty fast, but not as fast as bands like Hate Eternal or Cryptopsy, and there's a lot of songs that are mid-paced. To me, Fred Estby has never been a drummer like Derek Roddy or Flo Mounier; he doesn't need to show off a lot, he just needs to keep the beat, and play grooves and fills that fit the music. On this album, he does his job flawlessly.

The vocals are great; Matti Karki has a great growl that sounds distinct from other death metal vocalists. The guitar solos sound fantastic; they almost remind me of In Flames, if In Flames were more committed to making death metal that is both melodic and brutal.

I don't know what else to say about this album. It's my favorite Dismember album, one of my favorite death metal albums, and one of my favorite albums of all time.

Excellent! - 83%

stickyshooZ, August 25th, 2004

Dismember have always been a band to try new things with each album that they put together; this one is no exception to that claim. Their ability to merge heavy riffs with melody and not overdue either section of their song structures is truly a wonder to behold. Bands like Dismember are the ones that define the real meaning of what melodic death metal is all about. Dismember focus first on constructing death metal while the melody is simply the icing on the cake. Possessing jaw-dropping breakdowns through storms of lava-like melodies that show that this band does not fuck around when it comes to playing melo-death for true bastards.

Unlike many death metal bands that keep the connotation running that everything has to be chaotic and fast, Dismember break away from that trend and decide to use their sense of rhythm instead; making for unlimited compositional options as well as some solid hooks. While the breaks sometimes lead into pure rage and chaos of blast beats and heavy strumming, the entire entity of their music offers more of a sense of clarity in a way that the music is actually going somewhere, instead of just throwing in random speed riffs to hold the songs together. Differing from “Like an Ever Flowing Stream” and “Indecent and Obscene,” the production is significantly grimier and has more of a rusty feel. Despite the somewhat different mix style, I happen to like the change for this album, and I can not imagine listening to it any other way. The part that really stands out to me about this is Matti’s vocals – they sound as if they’re performed in more of a belching manner, rather than growling.

The guitars churn with unique metallic growls of their own, similar to a tag-team of killers brandishing rusty chainsaws. For the majority, this is a pretty aggressive album; it flows with the anger and sorrow of a soldier in a war as he frantically searches about for means to stay alive in a living Hell. Aside from the adrenaline that the aggressive parts pump this album with, there is a definite sad point in this album, which is a reminder that no war is fought without casualties or sacrifice. Listen to “Life - Another Shape of Sorrow,” and tell me that’s not one of the most coherent representations of the word ‘sorrow’ in death metal. God damn that is something else!

Could it be the epic climax of the album? You’re damn right it is. Are you bored of all of the endless death metal remakes which sound like copy bands of Morbid Angel? If you want real death metal that makes In Flames look like pussies and makes Deicide look like a bunch of newbies, then go for a Dismember album closest to you. This is awesome and prudent work on behalf of the kings of Swedeath. Check it out some time.

Underrated - 80%

Exterus, January 9th, 2004

Most Dismember fans (and death metal fans in general) consider this album to be one of Dismembers weakest moments. I disagree.
Sure, it has a somewhat different sound than most of Dismembers other albums, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's for the worse.
In many of the songs, the drums sound more like standard heavy metal than death metal. The album isn't as fast as many of Dismembers other releases but it's still brutal and heavy as hell. And death metal all the way through.
The riffage is great, there are a number of superb riffs, most notably in "Collection by blood", "To the bone" and "Crime Divine" who also are a few of the albums highlights overall.
There is also a instrumental track, "Nenia". I'm a bit indecisive about this one. It isn't bad, and it reminds me of Metallicas "Orion" from Master of Puppets. But it still doesn't feel quite right in the context of the album.

Aside from the obvious theme of conflict and war, the tracks "I saw them die" and "Life, another shape of sorrow" gives the album a vague sad/tragic feeling that complements the bloodstained rage that marks the rest of the album.

All and all, I think that the albums difference from the other Dismember-releases shows Dismembers greatness in the fact that there are definetly not many bands out there that could deviate from the norm of the genre like this and still retain the brutality and spirit of death metal.