DISMEMBER Like An Everflowing Stream (Back On Black)

The blood-soaked photo of the Swedish band adorning the back cover of this, their 1991 debut, suggests that being like an everflowing stream isn’t necessarily a good thing. Opener “Override Of The Overture” begins with sound effects suggestive of biblical misery before razorwire guitars and a percussive battery take off the top of the listener’s head and Matti Kärki’s guttural death metal growl plays football with the brain. And that’s pretty much how it progresses: complex and brutal, occasionally enlivened further by pulverising bass drum action and choral vocals, for all its dexterity it leaves me cold, unfortunately. The most enjoyable moment is, perhaps unsurprisingly, its most conventional: “Justifiable Homicide”, one of a quartet of bonus tracks, sounds kinda like a death metal “Peter Gunn”, at least providing some familiar frame of reference to hang it on. 

Another Back On Black reissue that’s actually not on black vinyl at all (blue, in this instance), the generally compressed, distorted sound is almost certainly an aesthetic decision rather than due to shortcomings in the vinyl production process, although equally there’s nothing about this (or any other of my) Back On Black reissue to suggest they’ve done anything more painstaking than cut the CD to vinyl.