Released: 2006, Regain Records
Ummm...okay, that's it. I have officially lost my mind reviewing this one. If I thought reviewing LOUNGE from Hellsongs last month was weird, this completely demolishes it. The story behind DISMEMBER goes something like this: In February of 2006, Dismember (the band) held a release party for their latest album, THE GOD THAT NEVER WAS. Apparently, someone got into their head the...er...brilliant...notion of asking Swedish songwriter Tony Naima to go up onstage and do versions of a couple Dismember classics in his own musical style. The reaction to Tony's performance was apparently overwhelmingly positive for some reason (pure supposition here, but I'm guessing it had something to do with a factor which begins with the letter "A" and ends with "lcohol") and apparently inspired another brainstorm, the general gist of which was "Hey! I've got an idea! Let's have him record a whole album of this kind of stuff!" And so was born DISMEMBER the album.
First up, let me make this so clear you can see through six feet of it: THIS IS NOT METAL. Essentially, what you've got here is thirty-seven minutes of folk, pop, and light-alternative-rock tunes you might expect to hear on your average "we play the songs of the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's!" radio station - except they're sung with Dismember's lyrics. These are every bit as much musical reworkings as they are true 'covers,' which admittantly shows an interesting degree of creativity, and I'll give Naima credit in that he actually seems to put some real feeling into what he's crooning in his quirky melodic midrange - even if what he's singing is totally inappropriate for the music. There's plenty of stylistic variety to be heard...not that much of it is easily digestible for the average metalhead. The rendition of "In Death's Cold Embrace" is presented in a post-modern alt-rock style reminiscent of mid-90's Beck, for example. One version of "Where The Ironcrosses Grow" sounds like some sort of John Denver-ish singalong folk / country mutation and another hidden-track version of the same song (which appears at the end of track 9) is a godawful synth-pop cut that sounds ripped off from any of a dozen one-hit-wonder 80's bands. "Let The Napalm Rain," probably the best song on here, becomes a Bob Dylan-esque folk rocker. "Dreaming In Red" winds up turning into a psychadelic-era Beatles meets THE WALL-era Pink Floyd cut. All in all, it's a bizarre collection of songs that's certainly interesting, but not anything most metal fans are going to be able to get into.
If you are a diehard Dismember (the band) fan, stay far, far, FAR away from this disc because it will make you want to rip your brain out of your head, throw it on the floor, and stomp on it until the hurting stops. If you absolutely hate Dismember and relish the very thought of their songs being mutilated in such a fashion - or if you happen to like the kind of music I've described here and wonder what it would sound like with Dismember's brutal lyrics being melodically sung over the top of it - or if you just have a really warped sense of humor - you'll probably enjoy at least part of DISMEMBER (the album), but otherwise, I would suggest avoiding this like the plague.