Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dissection - Maha Kali (2004)

Already, after the recording of Storm of the Light's Bane, Jon Nödtveidt faced problems with the line-up of Dissection. His subsequent conviction of being an accessory to murder, in 1998, left him imprisoned for several years. During this time, music that had already begun to take shape was worked on and transformed over time. By 2004, Jon was released and, immediately, put all of his energy toward the rebirth of Dissection.

Many fans had waited since 1995 for another Dissection L.P. Others had discovered the band after it had been put on hold, yet they too still had certain expectations. The statements that were issued from Jon, even back in 2003, indicated that he planned to take the music world by storm as soon as he was released, and that Dissection would burn the metal scene to ashes.

After waiting for several years, I had been patiently looking forward to more icy, cold hymns of nocturnal majesty. Finally, in November 2004, the wait was over. I was in Stockholm, set to preview the Maha Kali E.P. at the record store. My initial reaction was of disappointment and even confusion. This was not at all what I expected.

As soon as "Maha Kali" begins, it becomes apparent that the bitter cold melodies of the past were no more. The sound here is much more bottom-heavy and mid-paced. As for the sound, some of this may be due to the fact that the guitar and vocals were actually recorded in prison, in 2003. The song seems somewhat similar to, yet not quite as interesting as, "Where Dead Angels Lie". The version that appears on Reinkaos is superior, though this is not without some charm as well, once one gets past any and all expectations that they may have held for years.

"Unhallowed (Rebirth Version)" is next. Musically, the playing is tight and concise. However, it really lacks the cold atmosphere from the original. Still, much like a live recording, it is interesting to see a different take of the song, done so many years later and with several new band members. Probably, this was done to show that the band was quite capable of performing the classic Dissection material. Jon's vocals sound very good, without being rusty or degenerated as one might expect after so long.

Over time, my opinion has changed. Listening to it now, I find this E.P. to be an interesting and worthwhile release, as it gave everyone an opportunity to get used to the changes that were to come on the next album. Maha Kali serves as sort of a bridge from the old to the new, featuring new material that would indicate the direction the band was going in and a classic song, just to show that they have not forgotten the roots of the band.