Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

The Somberliar - "The Somberlain" Review (20%)

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The Somberlain
The Somberlain by Dissection.

When black metal became trendy in the early 90s, and poser Ihsahn was claiming that he - not Euronymous, Blackthorns and Varg Vikernes - invented the black metal riff (he had 'invented' shrieked vocals the week before), market over saturation was bound to happen.

Metalheads were well aware of it, Swedish death metal had its day when Swedecore bands like At the Gates started playing radio rock from Slaughter of the Soul onward. So these ex-death metal bands took their old riffs and tried to hop on the black metal bandwagon, even though most didn't quite get black metal - see Satyricon, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral, etc.

Dissection is one of those bands.

Aesthetically, this is black metal: vocals are reminiscent of Dead and Quorthon's screeches, the guitars are distorted and drenched in reverb Burzum style, the drummer utilizes a blast beat and plays in busy rhythms, and the band's logo and lyrics reek of black metal.

The music itself however, is typical speed/death metal riff hybrids that at best remind of a riff that wasn't good enough to be on Carnage's Dark Recollections and at worst, Entombed rhythms in harmonic minor chord voicings.

This is stocky, rigid, rhythmic 'bounce black metal' like Satyricon, Ulver, early Dimmu Borgir, Therion and later day Immortal.

The Somberliar is not black metal.

The Somberliar


Speed metal dressed up to appear like death metal, itself dressed up to appear like black metal. The songs don't develop in any meaningful way, being nothing more than groove riff after groove riff interrupted by blasting or thrashing on rare occasions to remind you they're speed death black metal. Without any sense of song craft or theme being elaborated upon in the music, The Somberliar quickly devolves into a garbage plate of generic mosh fare that might be fun to see live if you're drunk, deaf and incontinent.

If Jon Nödtveidt was attempting underground redemption, he failed. The insistence on grooves, the disconnected riffs, the proto-deathcore chugs and the gang vocals all combine to produce a very phoned in feeling. The lyrics reference Euronymous, but sound like something Phil Anselmo would write. They have stupid religious overtones as Nödtveidt tries to force feed his 'street cred' on you, like a moronic MTV rapper.

Case in point with the first track Black Horizons. After the cool interplay between two early Swedeath metal riffs, we are greeted by a very annoying Pantera styled chorus, complete with nu metal grooves and gang vocals. It sounds like the best riffs come from what early Swedish bands like Carnage and Dismember would have come up with on Dark Recollections and Like an Everflowing Stream, and in between, for no reason other than to annoy, we get CHUGGA-CHUGGA deathcore of the worst type. The stupidity continues further in the song after the verse-chorus repetition when we get to the lazy tremolo picked notes riff followed by the 'atmospheric' dissonance part with the 'important sounding' spoken word gibberish underneath. The song ends with blast beats over what sounds like a parody of post-NecroPedoSadoMaso era Sewer parody of their favorite Burzum tunes. It all amounts to crap.

On this album, expect nothing more than what would happen if early Sewer (at their laziest) played their favorite Anal Cunt and Mortician riffs, but had an even gayer logo.

Nödtveidt is a somber liar, and his album sucks. LOL.

The Somberlain score: 20/100.

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