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Released: 2000, Music For Nations
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
I realize, given the number of metal albums out there, that it's no small thing to say that a certain album is the best one of the year. However, to coronate the amazing Motherwar as anything less would be to belittle it. From out of nowhere a Swedish band which I've never heard of fires off a debut album with more gut-crushing impact than any single metal album I've encountered in a long time. This band is not easily pigeonholed. Their style has the speed of thrash metal, the melodic and classical qualities of power metal, and black metal style vocals. However, the whole is much more than the sum of its parts. All the styles are synthesized into a molten, gleaming whole which comes perilously close to crossing the line into a whole new style of metal.
The intro track and the opening of the title track (Track 2) lull the listener into a false sense of security, seconds before a blast of hyper-speed guitar launches "Motherwar" into full kamikaze mode which fires everything - including a Mozart symphony - into the gaping maw of Dispatched's chromed war machine. As the smoke clears and you're thinking, "Well, they certainly can't match that track on the rest of the album," the next song delivers a furious artillery assault every bit as vicious as the title track. Indeed, while it's a given that an unknown band can put out a great song once in a while, perhaps the most amazing thing about Motherwar is its incredible, frenetic consistency. There are very few albums, even among the classics, that I can listen to from beginning to end without ever being tempted to skip a track. But Motherwar is in that category, right down to the oddly spellbinding 14-minute epic that finishes the album. Even more amazing than the fact of the album's consistency is that buried in the lineup is, believe it or not, a high-speed, brutalized cover of Europe's "The Final Countdown," in which Dispatched pulls off the impossible task of rendering the 80s hair-band's ludicrous lyrics into not only a listenable song, but a real metal song.
With a debut like this, I can only imagine where Dispatched may go from here. If you've been waiting for a previously unknown band to come along and knock you on your ass, your wait is over. Dispatched is going to take you down.
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