Dimension Zero – He Who Shall Not Bleed (Candlelight Records)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 9/10

Sure, Dimension Zero’s melodic death metal approach isn’t going to split the world in two. And yeah, they trace over familiar path once tread by At the Gates, In Flames, and the like, but wow, He Who Shall Not Bleed has some of the sharpest, most agile melodic death metal cuts in recent memory.

The follow-up to 2003’s mostly good This Is HellHe Who Shall Not Bleed sees Dimension Zero (who consist of former Marduk singer Jocke Gothberg, current In Flames guitarist Jesper Stromblad, current Soilwork bassist Daniel Antonsson (who plays guitar for DZ), and former The Great Deceiver drummer Hans Nilsson) fully exploit all that is right and good with melodic death metal. The litany of melodies presented here is overwhelming and in a rare occurrence, picks up speed as the album moves along.

Case in point, the relatively quick “He Who Shall Not Bleed” and “A Paler Shade of White” are melodious, but more thrash-tinged numbers, with Gothberg’s mammoth rasp taking charge. Then as the album moves into its mid-portion, tracks like the buzzing “I Can Hear the Dark,” “Going Deep” and “Is” morph into glowing, classic melo-death forays.

The highlight of the album is “Deny,” a straightforward, anthemic number that boasts a pile-driving main riff and dominating chorus augmented by a flurry of crashing cymbals from Nilsson and a crisp guitar melody.

Bonus cuts include a funny, head-turning version of the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” the all in Swedish, “Rovarvisan.”

Released in Europe in September of 2008, He Who Shall Not Bleed may not be technically a 2009 release, but it is the first must-have shard of pure melodic death metal of the calendar year. Totally necessary stuff for those who still pine for the Gothenburg glory days to return…

www.myspace.com/dimensionzero

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)