Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dismember - Pieces (1992)

By October 1992, many of Death Metal's most renowned acts had completely wimped out and were mere shadows of their former selves. The likes of Entombed, Death, Pestilence and even Autopsy had already dropped the ball. Yet with the Pieces mini-CD, Dismember returned to remind the world what barbaric and cruel Death Metal was supposed to sound like. 

Though this release clocks in at only eleven minutes, it completely destroys a good amount of the albums that were current at the time. Records like An Evil Shade of Grey, Unorthodox and even Shadows in the Deep pale in comparison to this violent and powerful recording from Dismember. From the opening moments of the title track, the listener is bludgeoned over the head with massively intense riffs, crushing drums and utterly vicious vocals. At this point, Matti could still sound quite maniacal and filled with rage, as evidenced by "I Wish You Hell". There is more range to his voice, still utilizing the deeper aspects along with the raspier screams, as opposed to the neutered sound of later albums. The guitar tone is, of course, the standard Swedish "buzzsaw" sound that helped define the movement in the early days. Though similar to many other records of the time, the sound here is still a bit more harsh and raw than releases from Grave, Unleashed or Cemetary. The songs here are brief and lack the more melodic elements that were occasionally found on the debut album, while also avoiding the more simplistic groove-oriented sections that appeared on Indecent and Obscene. Yet, each song is still easily distinguishable from the next, proving that solid songwriting is much more meaningful than useless gimmickry that weaker bands rely on. The reason for the inclusion of "Soon to Be Dead" is not clear, though it fits in with the other songs. The vinyl version also features "Deathevocation", which I'm assuming is the same as the Like an Ever Flowing Stream bonus track.   

Pieces is a ferocious and bloodthirsty assault on the senses. The three new tracks on this E.P. represent a more concise and direct approach, steamrolling over all of the limp-wristed 'progressive Death Metal' that was already beginning to emerge around this time. With this lethal dose of Swedish death, Dismember maintained the hellish and intense vibe that this sort of music is supposed to possess, making this brief recording still very much worth the effort to seek out.