Scott continues his series of Rock Doc reviews.
Old School Swedish Death Metal (OSSDM) has been a long running hobby of mine in my music studies since my teenage years. Dismember, along with peers such as Entombed, Grave, and Unleashed carved out one of the most distinctive and brutal imprints of Death Metal in the early nineties, carrying on to present day.
Their music was raw, fast, and brutal, which is a trait characteristic of Death Metal, but the secret sauce in the Swedish sound was in the one of a kind guitar tone. Originated by Nihilist guitarist Leffe Cuzner by down tuning a guitar to C and maxing out all of the potentiometers on a Boss HM-2 distortion pedal, this distinct guitar tone has influenced countless bands ranging all the way from Death Metal, Grindcore, and even certain elements of Hardcore and continues to influence droves of bands to this day.
Dismember - Death Metal & More Mental Illness is part of Dismember's swansong Under Blood Red Skies, their final live release, and final release at that back in 2009. Dismember - Death Metal & More Mental Illness is the companion disc to the live DVD. Personally, I think it should have been the focal point of this release and the live DVD an afterthought to see the band off properly as it is a treasure trove of info on the band for any Dismember junkie such as myself. With Dismember - Death Metal & More Mental Illness you get to see Dismember at their goofiest which I always enjoy watching as a juxtaposition to the brutal, serious nature of the music. Candid interviews with each member give us an interesting insight into their lives as a part of one of the most influential death metal bands in history.
Dismember - Death Metal & More Mental Illness includes additional live footage, interlaced with the interviews and stories from the each member. I most enjoyed the discussions with Martin Persson, who ironically was only a member of the band for the last 6 years of their 23 year run. One of the things that bummed me though was no interviews with Fred Estby, an original member of Dismember who unfortunately left the band in 2007 to start up The Dagger. That is forgiven to a certain degree because the scope of Dismember - Death Metal & More Mental Illness is not supposed to be a career retrospective, it is a glimpse into the life of the Dismember of 2009, and that makes it just as interesting.
-Scott W. Lambert