Released: 2000, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Being a fan of Entombed, I used to consider Dismember just an Entombed clone. But when Entombed changed their style so drastically over the years, I yearned for some real classic Swedish death metal. I tried to ignore Dismember, but the songs I heard off various compilations were enticing, and soon thereafter I just said “to hell with it”, and picked up all of their albums. And after repeated listens, I realized that by no means are they a copycat. Sure they have a similar guitar sound and play similar music, but their differences are more prominent than their similarities. And besides, both bands helped pioneer Swedish death metal. Regardless, while Entombed has disappointed most of their fans, Dismember continues to pursue what they have always craved: pure death metal!
But how could Hate Campaign possibly top the phenomenal “comeback” album Death Metal? Indeed the new album falls short of the intensity and creativity spawned on Death Metal. Actually, Hate Campaign sounds like a mixture of all of their previous albums. Nothing new, but nothing short of brutal either! You have to admit, that classic Dismember buzzsaw guitar sound is just so infectious and heavy as hell! Combine this with Matti Karki’s gut wrenching vomit vocals and Dismember’s varied songwriting and you have another classic death metal album! Dismember has always mixed speed with sloth-like doom, and everything in between, to give their albums dynamics. The same is true on Hate Campaign. Take “Enslaved to Bitterness” for instance, which mixes aggressiveness with melodic guitars, slower passages, and an abundance of melodic leads. If it was not for Matti and the overall Dismember sound, you would swear this is In Flames! And right on its heels follows “Mutual Animosity”, a very simple, mid-paced, plodding track that reminds me of the early days of death metal. And following that we have “Patrol 17”, sounding like Iron Maiden gone death! Finishing up the album is the title track, which would have to be my favorite on the album. The production sounds a bit more dirty and heavy on this one. Opening with discordant bass, and then moving into and slow death-dirge for the rest of the song, “Hate Campaign” pleases my ears, which have been yearning for slow death-doom! Even Fred’s drums sound a bit warmer on this track.
Hate Campaign will really only appeal to diehard Dismember fans. It is solid, punishing, classic death metal performed the way Dismember always has. But considering how surprising and brutal Death Metal was, I expected a lot more from the new album. The songs are too short, most of them falling between the two- and three-minute mark. And much room for expansion exists within the songs. After listening to Hate Campaign, I am left wanting more.
And of course, the Japanese version of this CD contains two bonus tracks: “Live to Hate” and “Unhealing Scars”. And for once, I did not buy this version (so if you have these two songs…email me!).