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Music / Dismember

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The band as depicted on the back cover of Like an Everflowing Stream

Dismember are a Swedish old school Death Metal band that existed between 1988 and 2011, often considered a Trope Codifier for that style of death metal. Although they briefly split up in 1989 after the release of some demo tapes, they got back together in 1990 with a different lineup containing members of the band Carnage (a band featuring future Carcass/Arch-Enemy guitarist Michael Amott; Carnage disbanded after he joined Carcass, leaving the rest of Carnage to start Dismember). The band released another demo in 1990, which would secure a record deal with now-famous metal label Nuclear Blast.

The band released their debut Like an Ever Flowing Stream in 1991, considered by many one of the pinnacles of death metal at that time and even today. Along with the aforementioned Carnage's album Dark Recollections, Entombed's Left Hand Path, Grave's Into the Grave and others, the album helped establish Sweden as a major force in death metal. During this early period, Entombed drummer and de-facto leader of the Swedish scene Nicke Andersson was heavily associated with them: Andersson performed the bass tracks on their first demo, most of the lead guitar work on their first post-reform demo and Like an Ever Flowing Stream, named the band, and designed their logo.

The song "Skin Her Alive" had the band make headlines for allegations of obscene content. The band ultimately won the ensueing court battle. avoiding certain claims of being "pornographic, obscene or indecent". This case gave them a name for their second album, Indecent and Obscene in 1993, also widely regarded as a classic death metal album. Nonetheless this incident and their quality music earned the band a devoted following.

Over the course of the next fifteen years, the band released six more studio albums that experimented with more melody and Hard Rock influence than their early work ontop of their trademark buzzsaw sound, sometimes to much acclaim, other to more debated stances; these albums are generally not as popular, but still kept the band afloat in the scene and as a touring act. The band folded in 2011 after headlining Death Feast Open Air, having not played a show in roughly 3 years by that point.

Dismember continues to be a very popular and almost universally respected band in the death metal community. They have been seen as extremely influential (generally, in the Swedish scene, only second to Entombed and arguably Grave) for their violent but melodic approach to the genre that, unsurprisingly, has spawned many derivative bands seeking to expand upon their style. One of the aspects they are acclaimed for is the fact although their sound did change, it was not to nearly as drastic an extent to such Entombed or other bands (even outside the Stockholm scene such as At the Gates) did, earning them what's seen as a much more consistent career. In 2019, they reunited, and have been in talks to begin work on new record sometime in the future.

Members (final lineup in bold, founding members in italics)

  • Johan Bergebäck - bass (2004-2005)
  • David Blomqvist - guitar (1988-2011), bass (1989-1990)
  • Richard Cabeza - bass (1991-1998, 2000-2004)
  • Sharlee D'Angelo - bass (1998-2000; not officially a member, but toured with them at that time and appeared on Hate Campaign)
  • Tobias Cristiansson - bass (2006-2011)
  • Thomas Daun - drums (2007-2011)
  • Fred Estby - drums (1988-1989, 1990-2007)
  • Erik Gustafsson - bass (1988)
  • Matt Kärki - vocals (1990-2011)
  • Martin Perrson'' - guitar (2005-2011)
  • Magnus Sahlgren - guitar (1998-2003)
  • Robert Sennebäck - vocals (1988-1989), guitars (1989-1997)


  • Like an Ever Flowing Stream (1991)
  • Pieces (EP) (1992)
  • Indecent and Obscene (1993)
  • Massive Killing Capacity (1995)
  • Death Metal (1997)
  • Hate Campaign (2000)
  • Where Ironcrosses Grow (2004)
  • The God That Never Was (2006)
  • Dismember (2008)

Tropes that apply to Dismember:

  • Album Title Drop: Done with Spoken Word in Music at the start of "In Death's Sleep", the final song on Like An Ever Flowing Stream:
    From dream to dream we always have been
    Like an ever flowing stream
  • Appropriated Appelation: Indecent and Obscene got its title from a case involving the band being labeled...well, that (mentioned above).
  • Ax-Crazy: Nearly every protagonist in every lyric on the first two albums.
  • Blood Knight: Many songs, but "Of Fire" features an exceptionally badass (and psychotic) one.
  • Chainsaw Good: On the cover of Massive Killing Capacity, two of 'em in fact.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: On occasion, with the record holder probably being "In Death's Cold Embrace" which has 19 uses of "fuck".
  • Cover Version: "Beyond the Unholy Grave" and "Pagan Saviour".
  • Death Metal: One of the defining bands for Sweden's brand, along with Entombed, Unleashed, Grave, and proto-Dismember band Carnage.
    • Melodic Death Metal: A lot of their post-Obscene work heavily flirts with this, and even those first two albums tended to be a lot more melodic than many of the band's contemporaries to the point a case for them being a Ur-Example can be made. Their last few albums before breaking up could be best described as a mixture of their early and later sound.
  • Dramatic Thunder: "Override of the Overture" opens with this.
  • Epic Rocking: The closing track to the Self-Titled Album (and likewise, their entire career), "Black Sun", clocks in at 6:25. "Dismembered" falls just six seconds short of six minutes (5:54); most albums at least have a song reaching the five minute mark.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Inverted in "9th Circle."
    Who told you hell was warm?
    Infernal winter
    The ninth circle closed
  • Flayed Alive: "Skin Her Alive".
  • Ghostapo: The topic of "Black Sun".
  • Gorn: As you might guess from their name, often used as a lyrical topic, albeit not to the same extent as some other bands in the genre. Also the cover for Indecent and Obscene.
  • Harsh Vocals: Kind of comes with the territory. That said, the band (very rarely) uses spoken word, and oftentimes their vocals do not come across as being as harsh as other bands in the genre. Sometimes.
  • Horrible History Metal: "Europa Burns" is about World War I.
  • I Am the Band: Guitartist David Blomqvist was the only member who was in the band the whole time. That said, drummer Fred Estby appeared on close to all of their material (only missing the Self-Titled Album) and vocalist Matt Kärki stuck since his joining in 1990.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Averted and played straight. Quite a few songs have (fairly brief) instances where Kärki is pretty clear (typically when his voice isn't as much of a growl), and even the more growl-based deliveries are relatively more dechiperable than other death metal bands provided you pay some attention. That said, sometimes (especially on later albums) if you want to get the lyrics to a song without the lyric sheet, good luck.
  • Instrumentals: "Nenia" and "Phantoms (Of the Oath)"
  • Lead Drummer: Fred Estby was not only one of the three longest-serving members (only Blonwvisdt and Kärki lasted longer), he was one of the band's main songwriters (particularly when it came to lyrics) and helped with production on not only all of his albums with the band but a large amount of other bands in Swedish death metal.
  • Loudness War: Post-Obscene, this took its toll on the band...although it is also worth mentioning the Pieces EP averaged a DR5. In 1992.
  • Losing Your Head: Pieces depicts the band like this.
  • Miniscule Rocking: They have something of a knack for songs right around or even shorter than the two minute mark, some examples being "Never Forget, Never Forgive" (1:43), "Soon to be Dead" (1:55), "Skin Her Alive" (2:15), "Eviscerated (Bitch)" (2:20), and "Wardead" (2:28).
  • Nuke 'em: "Massive Killing Capacity".
  • New Sound Album: Massive Killing Capacity made the full jump to Melodic Death Metal the band always leaned toward. Where Ironcrosses Grow marked them developing a sound somewhere between their early sound and the one Capcity started.
  • Not Afraid of Hell: In "Soon to be Dead", a man who accepts that he's going to Hell as long as he gets to murder Christians "at the end of time".
  • Officially Shortened Title: The band was to go under the name Dismemberizer, but this did not fit on their first demo tape, so the band shortened it to Dismember.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Like an Ever Flowing Stream has this. Massive Killing Capacity is more like Orange/Purple Contrast.
  • Precision F-Strike: Quite a few songs, "On Frozen Fields" in particular:
    Pain twist my body
    As my enemy splits my face
    Another fucking victim
    Left to die in a bloody haze
  • Religion Rant Song: A common lyrical topic of theirs, starting with "Skinfather" from Indecent and Obscene.
  • Revolving Door Band: Mildly. Although one guitar spot (Blomqvist) was constant and drums and vocals were mostly constant (Robert Sennebäck filled in at the start before Matti Kärki took over until the end and Fred Estby was behind the skit until 2007, only being replaced once), the other guitar slot and the bassist went through a few changes.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: The Warhammer40000-inspired monstrosity on the cover of "Massive Killing Capacity". He has machine gun barrels on his feet.
  • Self-Titled Album: In an inversion of the usual scenario their career ended with one, although the debut album has an almost self-titled song ("Dismembered").
  • Signature Style: Usually fast-tempo music with an instantly recognizable "buzzsaw" guitar tone, a much greater implementation of melodic riffs and soloing than other death metal bands backed by Karki's signature shouted vocals that go up and down in pitch and aggressive, very thrashy drumming.
  • Spiritual Successor: They are basically this to Carnage, whose lone album featured all three of Dismember's mainstays (Karki, Blomqvist and Estby). The band itself has many of these.
  • Strictly Formula: Dismember's style has only seen one real major change ever (that being increased melody) and even that's not always too noticeable; of the original major bands of the Swedish scene, they are one of the ones that changed the least in later years.
  • Shout-Out: "Where Ironcrosses Grow" is a quote from the 1977 Sam Peckinpah movie Cross of Iron.
  • War Is Hell: Most of Massive Killing Capacity is built around this, even having some tragic moments in the opening and closing tracks.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: "Souldevourer", we think.
  • Vocal Evolution: Over time, Karki's voice shifted from a standard growl-tinted voice that sometimes shifted into higher, almost but not quite clean passages to more of a roar which ditched the more decipherable side.