Dismember

Dismember

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With their eponymous, eighth studio album (and its emphatic opening track, "Death Conquers All," in particular), Dismember clearly wish to restate their enduring commitment to the genre they've stuck with through thick and thin since day one; even though most of their colleagues from the first generation of late '80s, Swedish death metal bands, wandered off towards greener musical pastures long ago, or simply went away entirely. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. First the good thing: it means that, with very few exceptions (like the clean, melodic ending of "Under a Bloodred Sky" -- very Iron Maiden) Dismember's loyal and stylistically conservative fan base can rest assured that typical new tracks like "Europa Burns," "The Hills Have Eyes," and the utterly pulverizing "To End It All," will sound like authentic snapshots of the band's early days -- down to the insistent Cookie Monster vocals and those distinctively Swedish, hollow and grinding guitar tones. The bad thing, of course, is the simultaneous creative stagnation that's sure to leave more open-minded listeners feeling that they've heard all these songs (good ones like those cited above and not so good like "Legion," "Combat Fatigue," and "Dark Depths") done before, in only slightly altered form, on those first few Entombed, Edge of Sanity, and, yes, Dismember LPs. Sound subjective enough? Well, that's just because it is, but Dismember are obviously wise not to go changing their successful blueprint this late in the game. Their devoted fans will certainly thank them for that.

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