Hate Campaign


Nuclear Blast Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When I was a teenager working in a gas station, one of the mechanics who was a friend of mine used to kid me about my love of heavy metal. Every time he'd hear one of my tapes playing, usually as I got in my car to leave for the day, he'd mock the music, screaming, "Aargh! Kill your mother and eat your dog!"

After listening to Hate Campaign, the latest release (and fifth full-length disc) from Sweden's Dismember, I'm starting to think that my friend had a point. For 33 minutes, the listener is bombarded with a non-stop assault of speed metal and screams that barely pass for vocals - so much so that it's almost impossible for you to come up for air at all. It's repetitive, it's a bit boring... and it's all been done before, only better.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now, don't get me wrong; I still love metal, especially speed metal. But vocalist Matti Karki and crew make it pretty difficult to like Dismember on a number of counts. First is the rapid-fire succession of the songs - I mean, there are times where I don't think there's even a miniscule break in the guitar chords to serve as notice that the songs are changing from one to another. If I hadn't been paying attention to the display, I'd never have known that "Beyond Good & Evil" had ended and "Retaliate" had started. What's more, I probably wouldn't have cared, because the tunes sound so much alike - hence my description of boring. Only at the end, in the title track, is there any change worth noticing - and by then, it's too late.

The second problem is the actual execution by the band. Karki is so into screaming and growling out his vocal tracks that any attempt at translation is immediately thrown out the window. This might seem like a double standard, seeing that I love the way that Napalm Death's Lee Dorian used to grunt out vocals - but at least that fit the mood of the music. In Dismember's case, I would have liked to have been able to understand Karki at least a few times.

The presentation of the music also isn't the most stellar. Drummer Fred Estby doesn't sound like he's quite cut out for the world of death or speed metal; so many other drummers could pound circles around him on just the kick drums alone. The two guitar attack of David Blomqvist and Magnus Sahlgren just doesn't materialize the way one would hope that it would. It's just too chaotic for a band who have been on the scene long enough to know better.

Will Hate Campaign dissuade me from listening to death or speed metal? Hardly; if anything, this disc helps me to appreciate the groups that have mastered the genre... and it serves as a reminder that not every band can handle it. Sadly, Dismember seems to be one of those.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.