Dimension Zero - He Who Shall Not Bleed Review
by Matt Hensch
When Jay Leno hosted The Tonight Show, I remember witnessing one of his interviews with actor Josh Brolin, which was around the period No Country for Old Men graced the masses. Brolin claimed working under the direction of Joel and Ethan Coen was difficult, because after each scene, each man would give a disgusted, apathetic shrug in response.
That is basically how I feel about He Who Shall Not Bleed. Essentially, Dimension Zero sounds like the musical equivalent of watching a group of rejects (or hipsters) from Gothenburg dropkick the horse's decayed ribcage once again, because melodic death metal is still in its golden age… even though 1995 was 12 years ago. I guess some were a little late in receiving the telegraph. Outdated or not, He Who Shall Not Bleed spotlights why this niche always suffocates in modern ways, and it is not like Scar Symmetry where things sound fun despite those obvious hints at catchiness. Why? Because it fails miserably at capturing anything steady or remotely joyful in the musical perspective for the record's statutory worth, plain and simple.
I must be truthful: I had faith in this one. He Who Shall Not Bleed has three dudes currently associated with In Flames (remember, they were not always trash!) Dark Tranquility and Liers in Wait, so I would assume three guys related to three bands that greatly influenced melodic death metal would resume its justice days with such a lineup. Well, that dream turned into a nightmare. Jesper Strömblad: riff master, or burnt-out jug head? Is that even a question? His guitar show represents what killed successful Gothenburg years ago: unoriginal harmonies, dull melodic riffs, poor groove chops, mediocre soloing (if you can call it that), and occasionally applying this deadbeat thrash influence that only pisses in these bloodied wounds. Come on, this guy would not know how to craft a hearty riff if one kicked him in the nuts, and he frankly left Dimension Zero a suffering card underneath his generic self-worship. Basically, anyone hoping Jesper managed to remove his head from his hella-tight ass for this project can forget it. Dimension Zero's approach herein rolls the Jesper turd in glitter, which makes it nice and shiny, but does not change the fact that it is still waste from a radio-friendly scrounger.
I am also mildly intrigued by Dimension Zero, however, simply because the receiving object features ex-Liers in Wait drummer Hans Nilsson and one-time Marduk vocalist Joakim Göthberg who phenomenally shrieked in the black metal group's listenable-era. Ironically, I say both gentlemen give a respectable performance from their desired positions. Nilsson's percussion, although clearly limited by Dimension Zero's lightheaded circumstance, is awe-inspiring in all essential areas of drumming: excellent rhythm sections, powerful fills, energetic blasting, and so on. Joakim on the other hand seems to have drifted into a higher-toned shriek than his showcase on "Those of the Unlight," which, despite narrowing the individualism of his voice, comes off enjoyably overall for what it is worth; not as good as he once was, yet Joakim's pipes are definitely free of clogs.
As for the album's prime slices, we have a few nice cuts not drenched in hallowed filth, especially "Is," which conjures muscular tremolo riffs and melodies akin to prototypical Gothenburg releases like The Crown's The Burning or Dark Tranquility's debut; strong and daring, it stands alone. "Deny" doesn't look too bad either, although there are obvious hues of poverty lurking in its structures. Sadly, the fact remains a stunning zero percent - even despite solid melodic death worship - of these passable contributions actually bob up in fertile territory, so Dimension Zero's vital signs are anything but original regardless.
So basically, Dimension Zero holds no gold within this vault, but was that not the expectation? Mediocre melodic death metal commands all, the songs are rushed and lacking original content, and there are hardly any moments differing from this sad norm of modernity; it is like they are not even trying at all. But perhaps I have merciful dispositions when discussing He Who Shall Not Bleed due to the overshadowed performances from our good friends shrieking like crazy and pounding those drums into bleakness. However, that is no excuse to deny Dimension Zero is fundamentally vacant of intelligent Gothenburg or writing something not smothered in popular, trendy opinion.
He Who Shall Not Bleed
A Paler Shade of White (A Darker Shade of Black)
Hell is Within
Red Dead Heat
I Can Hear the Dark
Way to Shine
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