Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dissect - Swallow Swouming Mass


I've stated time and time again that one of my absolute favorite niche movements in metal history was the early death metal of the 1990s, at the time when the genre was just starting to figure out its identity and as such was still a primordial soup of thrash metal mixed in with what we would later learn to know as death metal.  Dissect comes from the tail end of that time period, so their sole album, Swallow Swouming Mass, seems to be one of the ones that got their shit together and solidified the twisted ideals of Morbid Angel and Entombed into a solid, slimy, brutal death metal release.

Despite early OSDM being among my favorite niches, I never write about it, and that's because it's frankly really hard to write about.  You know what it's gonna be, and the fact that the quality of damn near every single release you can dredge up, from the high profile acts of Florida, New York, and Stockholm, to the underground gems that didn't fully get the praise they deserved until long after their time as a band (like Demented Ted, Wombbath, and others) was so consistently high, there's really only so much you can say about them all.  This is what makes Dissect such a difficult target for me, I can tell you that the vocals are among the top echelon of their peers, with a deep, punishing growl on par with Ross Dolan, but that's really the only thing that stands out in any way.  That's not a knock against anything else present on the album, the rest of it is astoundingly well written and performed (other than maybe the lyrics being a bit silly at times, but even then I always appreciate a bit of levity), it just falls in line with what almost every other band in the genre was doing at the time, which is totally fine by me.  This comes from a time before blastbeats were the go-to crutch for every song, instead relying on those fast thrash beats that Kreator and Slayer helped pioneer, tastefully interspersed with flashes of Morbid Angel and Suffocation here and there, and it helps keep the songs varied throughout their runtimes.  The skill in the percussion comes less from inhuman endurance and more from creative songwriting, and it's a lesson that many modern drummers need to take note of.

Like Demilich, Funebre, Rottrevore, and apparently 80% of all other bands around this time, the band only managed to crank out one album before packing it in, and it's a shame, because I'd like to see how this would have developed.  The riffs are all very morbidly twisted and the vocals are guttural and hellish, the drumming is creative and the songs all mesh together to creative a craggly hellscape that I can't help but enjoy romping through.  It's hard to really go on at length about what this album offers because it's so cohesive and rides on a solid plateau of quality throughout the runtime (which is entirely the reason I rarely review early death metal by the way), so I find myself throwing vague superlatives out there without much else behind them.  I'm sorry kids, but that's really all I can do.  This is dark, engulfing, mid paced OSDM with that trademark Scandinavian flavor that makes it just a little bit slimier and more disgusting, and apart from the quick bass run in "Growls of Death", there isn't much to single out.  It's a great experience from beginning to end, and it's just another jewel in the veritable pirate chest that was death metal from 1990-95.

Oh, and the closing track is an 8 minute ode to a deranged serial killer who murders people with a localized chemical agent that makes you violently shit until you die.  Get back to me when you find another song like that.

RATING - 85%

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