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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.