This album took far too long to be released. When I first became an IN FLAMES fan, I quickly looked into the member’s side projects and that is when I discovered DIMENSION ZERO. I quickly became a fan of the band and have followed them ever since. But having to wait until 2009 for an album recorded 2 years prior, does leave me with a bit of an odd taste in my mouth. Unfortunately, the band’s third album “He Who Shall Not Bleed” doesn’t completely wash out that aftertaste.
It’s a solid record and fans of any of the members held in the ranks (there are a few Gothenburg namesakes like Jesper Strömblad of IN FLAMES and Daniel Antonsson of SOILWORK just for starters) are going to see a slightly different side to their heroes. I would even go as far and say that fans of DIMENSION ZERO are going to hear a slightly new side to the band too.
We all know that the two members above have mastered the Melodic Death Metal playing and they show off their chops with this release again. The reason I enjoy DIMENSION ZERO so much is that they remind me of the aggressive early days of IN FLAMES that no long exist with the band, and the melody spliced brutality is found in full on “He Who Shall Not Bleed”. Massive riffs overlaid with melodic (and quick) catches of leads are going to bring to mind that the two guitarists are indeed still very talented. Throw those very harsh shrieks from Jocke Göthberg and there is that very solid Melodic Death Metal foundation that most of the originating bands have moved away from.
What does make this band, and thusly this release, different from others is that this is a very heavy influence of Punky Thrash added into the mix. The drumming in particular hardly resembles the foundational Death Metal and the snare driven mix barely allows the bass drum work to surface. The short structuring of the songs also brings this to the forefront and this feels the Thrashiest of all the band’s releases. Hell, if one decided to mix in some group chanting, one might just think it’s an extreme of Thrash instead of Melodic Death.
Although this release has a lot going for it, it still felt a little lack luster then it could have been. Waiting for 6 years for this release in the United States did put the stakes up quite a bit for it, and although it’s a pretty good release I was still expecting a bit more. The energy, the dark atmosphere, and the even more relevant Thrash influence make it a great listen but far from the band’s best. People that miss that old IN FLAMES style will dig the melodies and riffing but overall this still feels more or less like a side project.
Songs to check out: “Is”, “I Can Hear The Dark”, “He Who Shall Not Bleed”.
(Online February 21, 2009)