The Somberlain(No Fashion - 1993)
From the first powerful riff until the last, this album screams epic power and sweeping melody. Grand and masterful, the music rides into dark melodies with gripping riffs in the Gothenberg style, yet the music is both brutal and evil in a rich and warm way. What sets this band apart and started off a slew of clone attempts, is the fact that they are mostly melodic black metal but wading knee-deep in death metal elements as well. The blend is so balanced in fact, that to categorize them as one and not the other would be pointless. The guitar technique makes much use of the strumming one-note technique, moving up and down the fret board with gripping harmonic themes. The dynamics are great too, with speedy sections effortlessly shifting into slow tunes, blast beats or haunting melody. Three short acoustic interludes are included, making the sound bigger. Vocals are also straddling the border between black and death, with some of the 'hysterical' quality used by At the Gates. A superb and very satisfying album and definitely highly recommended.
Storm of the Light's Bane(Nuclear Blast - 1995)
More of the same but perhaps with more black than death this time. Instantly catchy melodic lines, whirlwind riffs and rapidly changing patterns. A few sections (especially track 3) reminded me of Emperor but without the atmospheric keyboards and the eighth track brought Immortal to mind. They do have their own sound though, which often modulates seamlessly from brutally heavy, to melodic rapture or acoustic beauty. This one is guaranteed not to bore you or to lack in musical integrity. All instruments are handled wonderfully and the vocals are harsh and powerful. In short, I dare any melodic black metal fan to find anything wrong with this or not to own it - this is the quintessence of the genre.
Where Dead Angels Lie EP(Nuclear Blast - 1996)
Two versions of the slow and majestically melodic title track taken from Storm of the Light's Bane - one a demo version that isn't much different. Also included are:
Elisabeth Bathori (Tormentor cover) - an 80's style, ploddingly heavy and slow track with simple Bathory riffs but delivered with vigour and power by Dissection. It changes unexpectedly in the middle to lovely melodic guitar lines and keyboard atmospherics.
Anti Christ (Slayer cover) - Unsurprisingly thrashy, fast and fun, delivered with gusto and their usual flawless playing and black metal vocals. This one will have you jumping on your chair.
Feather's Fell - the haunting and beautiful short acoustic track from the Japanese release of Storm of the Light's Bane. Whispered vocals and shivers.
Son of Mourning - The bonus track from the Japanese release of The Somberlain. The same as the rest on that album - great raging death with black elements.
Altogether a very varied release and worthwhile if you need more from this great band.
The Past is Alive (The Early Mischief)(Necropolis - 1997)
A collection of their demo material - 11 tracks clocking at 33 minutes. 5 songs are from The Somberlain with a rough and much more death-ish sound. The catchy melody is slightly lacking and the production is obviously much smaller although not bad as demos go. 2 tracks are the Japanese bonus tracks from the two LPs but also in their rough form (Feather's Fell is totally ruined with drumming). Then the quality gets worse and worse with the last four ancient tracks. Two are pure non-melodic death with deep growling vocals and strong riffs, but quite boring. And the last two (so old, they were called Satanized at the time) are so bad in quality that the sound gets warped and the vocals are completely drowned. They are more melodic and Dissection-like however as much as my ears can make out. The only people that should get this are big Dissection fans or people that prefer the death metal sound in their music and like it rough. Otherwise, stay away from this one and get the improved, amazingly good and epic LP's.