The Scandinavian death metal/black metal scene is not for the faint of heart. Bands often write about Satanism and the occult, vocalists try to sound as evil as possible, and things can get bloody intense when dozens of young Nordic headbangers decide to form a mosh pit at a live concert. Notice the use of the word "dozens" as opposed to thousands; while many mainstream rockers can easily sell out huge soccer stadiums, most Scandinavian death metal bands are so harsh and brutally punishing that they will never even come close to mainstream acceptance (which is just as well because many of them treasure their underground outsider status). Nonetheless, some Nordic death metal bands are more merciful than others, and Where Ironcrosses Grow represents the more musical side of Swedish death metal. For all its bombast and sledgehammer fury, this CD is less extreme than most of the death metal albums that were recorded in Sweden in the early 2000s. Dismember's late-2002/early-2003 lineup -- lead singer Matti Karki, guitarist David Blomqvist, bassist Richard Cabeza, and drummer Fred Estby -- is relatively melodic (at least by death metal/black metal standards), and the material often underscores the band's debt to '80s thrash. Stylistically, Where Ironcrosses Grow is closer to Slayer and Sepultura than, say, an amelodic grindcore outfit like the infamous Cannibal Corpse. Of course, Slayer and Sepultura can be ferocious, and Where Ironcrosses Grow isn't exactly easy listening; melody and all, this release packs a nasty, bruising punch. Clearly, time has not mellowed or softened Dismember, who celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2003 -- and while this CD doesn't break any new ground for the Nordic metalheads, longtime followers will find it to be a respectable addition to their catalog.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson