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Dissection: The Somberlain


1. Black Horizons 2. The Somberlain 3. Crimson Towers 4. A Land Forlorn 5. Heavens Damnation 6. Frozen 7. Into Infinite Obscurity 8. In The Cold Winds Of Nowhere 9. The Grief Prophecy/Shadows Over A Lost Kingdom 10. Mistress Of The Bleeding Sorrow 11. Feathers Fell

Dissection – The Somberlain
DISSECTION’s debut “The Somberlain” of 1993 rotates, just like the even more brilliant follow-up “Storm Of The Light’s Bane”, mostly in the cold season within my player. You want to know why? Well, these two albums are like a dark, icy snowstorm or even better a winter-thunderstorm. They fit winter like frost.

On “The Somberlain” the gentlemen N�dtveidt (vocals, guitars), Zwetsloot (guitars), Palmdahl (bass) and �hman (battery!) play evil and atmospheric Death/Black Metal, I dare to say that DISSECTION had even been the masters of this genre-mix (Mr N�dtveidt doesn’t have much chance to play anything, behind the steel bars). With their debut the Swedes offered us a real full-frontal assault.

The album starts out with the atmospheric riff-thunder of “Black Horizons”, which eight minutes leave nothing but destruction in its wake. Everybody will realise immediately why this album is best listened to in winter. The song is stormy and creates an atmosphere like on a frosty and foggy winter day. But it is not pure thrashing! Many wonderful and scary melodies join the heavy riffs, making everything catchier. The great thing about the melodies is that they mostly consist of guitar-overtones, making them sound razor-sharp. Similarly furious is the following title-track “The Somberlain”. Also more than seven minutes long, this track is an absolute highlight, furiousness and atmosphere in perfection.

With “Crimson Towers” we then get a short, purely acoustic interlude, which loosens everything up. With “Into Infinite Obscurity” and “Feathers Fell” two more pieces like this can be found throughout the album. I guess that the guitar-fraction wanted to prove its technicality. “A Land Forlorn” and “Heaven’s Damnation” the harsh Black/Death is taking over the sceptre again, now I can truly understand why the booklet talks about “battery” instead of “drums”, Ole �hman fires on all cylinders, blastbeats hunt double-bass-attacks, a true inferno. The four other tracks also are more in the speedy corner, yet this does not mean that they lose in intensity or quality. They are just as freezing cold and atmospheric as the rest.

Concluding one could say that DISSECTION have laid the foundation to their success with “The Somberlain”. To fit into one word, their music is gripping. Only few other bands of this genre manage to combine the components of speed, brutality, coldness, atmosphere and melodies as well as DISSECTION. If you listen to the music with closed eyes you could almost envision to stand in one of the snow-swept Swedish forests. The only point of criticism is the sound. Here and there it sounds a little muddy and chaotic. And the songs of “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” are catchier and more mature than the ones on “The Somberlain” (Ehm, could it be because “The Somberlain” was the debut? Just a theory… – Alex). Still, DISSECTION have managed to create a true masterpiece that, together with “Storm…” still is one of the monoliths of Death/Black Metal.

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