The amount of negative press this album received really doesn’t sit too well with me, and although some of the criticisms levelled at this album hold some water I still think that “Reinkaos” is much better than many give it credit for. After listening to it again a few days ago I decided it was time for me to throw in my two cent’s worth and re-examine DISSECTION’s final album.
Many were left disillusioned by this album’s more melodic character and the relatively easily-digestible songs that are definitely a far cry from the blistering Blackened Death Metal of “The Somberlain” and “Storm Of The Light’s Bane”, two albums that carried with them just as much melody, albeit in a much subtler and I suppose “colder” form. On those two albums melody was used in essence only while on “Reinkaos” it was used in substance, the effect being that the songs are instantly catchier and somewhat less intense than before. There is intrinsically nothing wrong with this approach if you ask me and those quarters who hate this album because it isn’t “Storm Part II” have only themselves to blame since Jon never said that this latest album would be in the same vein as its celebrated predecessors. Over a decade had passed since “Storm”, with Jon spending most of the decade in jail for murder, a time during which he also picked up on some radically different ideological beliefs, and when this album was finally saw the light of day after his release from prison it featured a completely different line-up than before with Jon obviously the only remaining member from the ‘glory years’. If you didn’t see some glaring changes on the (black) horizon then you are a bona fide dumbass methinks.
So here we have “Reinkaos”, a wildly different beast, and one of the best “melodic Death Metal” albums I’ve heard in years. No, not poppy melodic drivel like SOILWORK, but melodic in a dark and epic way. “Black Dragon” and “Starless Aeon” are two instant classics in my book and two tracks that have been a staple of my Winamp playlist for over a year now. The former is a slow, almost ballad-y number with a very enjoyable melodic (often acoustically driven) dynamic that imbues the song with an anthem-like quality that is simply majestic while the latter track starts off with a strange syncopated drum beat and staccato riffs before one of those patented melodic leads kick in during the bridge that simply screams epic genius. The song also features a shredding solo later on that smacks of classic Heavy Metal, a style that obviously influenced this album quite a lot as both the aforementioned “Black Dragon” as well as others like “God Of Forbidden Delight” and “Internal Fire” rock out in a classy traditional Metal vibe, only with obviously harsh vocals. Speaking of vocals, Jon’s trademark raspy screams are still very much intact and instantly recognisable. There really is a lot of conviction in his delivery, while Set Teitan (ex-ABORYM) backs him up quite nicely in the guitar department. The drumming (courtesy of former DARK FUNERAL alumnus Tomas Asklund) is unfortunately nothing to write home about as he simply keeps a steady beat throughout the album, never drawing much attention to the rhythm section. Other highlight’s include the heavy chugging near the end of “Dark Mother Divine”, the brooding title track and the solid chorus of “Maha Kali”, a track which has a very strange “stunted” rhythm. “God Of Forbidden Delight” is also quite catchy and rocks out in the same “live anthem” style as, say, “Where Dead Angels Lie” – not too fast or too heavy, but suitably catchy and chunky for the most part.
Although it didn’t influence the purely musical aspect of the album that much the heavily occult bent of the lyrics add a decidedly insidious vibe to the album which works well to contrast the more melodic character of many of the songs. As intended (I suppose) it imbues the album with a strong ritualistic dynamic which just gives the songs more emotional gravitas in my opinion. The chanted formulas/incantations that precede or permeate many if not all of the choruses was a nice touch and it helps give the songs the requisite epic/dark atmosphere that we expect in Swedish Death/Black Metal. The somewhat ‘dry’/static production job could’ve been better but it puts the vocals and crunchy riffs, the two best aspects of the album, upfront so I can’t really complain about that department.
So all in all “Reinkaos” is a strong album in this humble scribe’s opinion and definitely one that needs to be seen in a more positive light. As much as many would scoff at the idea, I have found myself listening to this album much more than “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” over the past year or so and I have been impressed every time I pressed play. Hating this album because it is a diversion from the sound of its much vaunted predecessors is pretty narrow-minded since this album was intended as a musical “reboot” of sorts. Put all your preconceived notions aside and listen to “Reinkaos” for what it is – a powerful, emotional album that is different from the band’s past works yet no less dark and grand. RIP DISSECTION.
(Online October 28, 2008)