DB HOF NO. 66
The making of Dismember’s “Like an Ever Flowing Stream”
released: May 29, 1991
label: Nuclear Blast
Mea culpa: It’s hard not to mention Entombed when discussing this month’s Hall of Fame inductee, Dismember’s 1991 debut full-length Like an Ever Flowing Stream. It’s also a bit tired and unfair to both. Like twin binary stars orbiting some primordial HM-2-distorted galactic field, both are touchstones for a metal zeitgeist: linked works that tower above the Silver Age of early ’90s death metal and are usually mentioned in the same breath. But while it’s true the Swedish death metal sound had been captured on Left Hand Path a year before Dismember marched into the studio, it’s safe to say that until Like an Ever Flowing Stream was released, the Swedish sound was not yet a full-blown movement. Dismember—as we Americans say—took the ball and ran with it; they penned crushing tunes in direct correspondence, and competition, with the already thriving American death metal scene. And the world took notice.
The Stockholm scene traded riffs, shared members and borrowed one another’s equipment, but for all their similarities, the two aforementioned albums are different: Dismember owning a faster, more primitivist style, as well as a production barely able to maintain its structural integrity; one expects its deep belly, crackling with overdriven compression, to burst at any moment. So, while old-school fans and metal historians enjoy shoring support for one over the other—but always by a mere inch!—both camps break their necks headbanging to the angular trem-picked opening of “Override of the Overture,” and near-weep at the tragic majesty of the breakdown march in “And So Is Life.” Any doubt is quashed: Like an Ever Flowing Stream is a towering masterwork and purified evolution of the Swedish sound—the peanut butter to Entombed’s jelly, and a long overdue Decibel Hall of Fame recipient.
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