Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dismember - Indecent and Obscene (1993)

Indecent and Obscene is the second full-length album from Dismember, released in December 1993. It took about a year and a half for the band to offer a proper follow-up to 1991's Like an Ever Flowing Stream, and the time between albums allowed for their sound to weaken somewhat. While still a good album, this just seems to lack something. 

From the opening moments of "Fleshless", it is clear that Dismember has sort of smoothed many of the rough edges. Though it still possesses the typical Sunlight Studio sound, it seems that the band worked with Skogsberg to polish things up a bit, compared to the first record. Here, the drums are more clear and present in the mix. As well, the guitar tone is not nearly as raw or heavy as before. Matti's vocals are less monstrous and more of a shouting voice is bleeding through, with less of the harshness that he conveyed on Dark Recollections and Like an Ever Flowing Stream

As for the songwriting, the overall feeling is that they band tried to make this album more accessible, to some degree. Though there are still many solid riffs to be found on Indecent and Obscene, there are too many catchy breakdowns that really take away from the intensity of the music. "Skinfather" is very guilty of this and, to a lesser extent, the opening track. One of the other issues with this L.P. is the utilization of more rock-based parts, exemplified by "Sorrowfilled" and "Case # Obscene", as if they were trying to utilize a bit of the 'death n' roll' sound that Entombed had opted for. They do it well, I suppose, but I could really do without such elements. 

The second half of Indecent and Obscene is far superior to the first. The best moments of the album are when they revert to a more pure Swedish Death Metal approach, such as during the faster sections of "Souldevourer" and "Reborn in Blasphemy". The latter includes some rather crushing riffs and melodies that would not have been out of place on the band's debut. It's a shame that the vocals are so much weaker than even on the Pieces E.P. since these tracks, in particular, would have sounded quite good with a more hellish vocal approach. "Eviscerated (Bitch)" is another song with a more pure approach, sounding a bit similar to the opener, but minus the lame parts. "9th Circle" consists of really massive riffs that give off a doom vibe, coupled with lacerating tremolo riffs, serving as one of the best examples of pure Swedish Death Metal on this release. "Dreaming in Red" is the favourite of many, with its sombre bass lines and melancholic guitar melodies, adding somewhat of an epic feeling to the song. The faster riffs are a little too brief for my liking, but overall the song is very memorable and well put-together. 

Indecent and Obscene is a fairly good album, all things considered. It suffers from the placement of all of the weaker tracks right up front but, once you get through those (and many may not even mind the more simplistic elements that they possess), there are some very solid tracks lying in wait. While this record doesn't hold up so well when compared to previous Dismember releases, it manages to hold its own and is certainly worth a listen.