The Somberlain

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The Somberlain
Studio album by Dissection
Released 3 December 1993 (1993-12-03)
Recorded March 1 – 6, 1993
Studio Hellspawn and Unisound Studios, Sweden
Genre Black metal, melodic death metal
Length 45:38
Label No Fashion
Producer Dissection
Dissection chronology
Into Infinite Obscurity
(1991)Into Infinite Obscurity1991
The Somberlain
Storm of the Light's Bane
(1995)Storm of the Light's Bane1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[2]

The Somberlain is the debut album by Swedish Black metal band Dissection, released on December 3, 1993. It proved to be a highly influential release for both black metal and melodic death metal. The band dedicated the album to Euronymous, who had been murdered in August the same year. This is the only album that features the band's original lineup. The artwork was created by Kristian 'Necrolord' Wåhlin. The album was composed and arranged between 1989 and 1993, and was recorded between March 1st and 6th of 1993.[3]

Musical style[edit]

According to No Clean Singing, "Dissection made their name by infusing their black metal with a layer of melody which ensured that each song was memorable, together with strong musicianship and compelling lyrics and imagery. By keeping most of their NWOBHM-isms in the minor scale, they maintained a sense of darkness and foreboding over the blasting, thrashing framework of technically-proficient black metal."[4] Kyle Ward of Sputnikmusic argues that "Dissection is known for combining intricate, harmonized guitar leads with the raw force of Black Metal", and that "while each song has its own melodic riffs respectively, there are some where the song is full of these melodic riffs, and vocals just as epic and melodic." He also noted the significant stylistic differences between this album and Dissection's following album, Storm of the Light's Bane.[5] Metal Injection's Atanamar Sunyata wrote that "Dissection drew deeply from Bathory's legacy. Unlike their peers, however, Dissection looked beyond the atonal seethings of Under The Sign of the Black Mark, taking direction from Quorthon's later, more epic leanings. She described the album as "steeped in the sinister miasma of black metal's ethos", while noting that the band "discarded less of metal's traditional tropes than their contemporaries. Classical constructs guide the album’s course and teeming thrash provides its foundation."[6]


The album was reissued in 1997 by Nuclear Blast Records and again in 2004 by Black Lodge. Black Lodge also released a special edition set in 2005 limited to 666 copies, packaged in a wooden box along with a T-shirt and a sticker. The album was re-released most recently in 2006 by The End Records in a two-disc set, containing the original album, an unreleased live recording from 1995, the Into Infinite Obscurity EP from 1991, a demo from 1992, The Grief Prophecy demo from 1990, a rehearsal from 1990, and the Satanized rehearsal from 1990. All content is remastered, packaged in a slipcase, and is touted as the "Ultimate Reissue". The album was remastered from the original tapes by Håkan Åkesson at Cutting Room Studios, Stockholm.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Though the album has often been overshadowed by the band's following album Storm of the Light's Bane, The Somberlain has been well received by music critics and fans.[8] Blabbermouth write that the album was released "to critical acclaim and today the power and passion of that release still resonates as bright as it did back then", calling it an "instant classic".[7] Metal Injection called it an "essential" black metal album, writing that the album "is exploding with addictive, memorable hooks. Singular, unforgettable melodies overlay sinuous, quick-draw dynamics. Dual harmonies are perfectly executed in rapid-fire waves." They singled out the album's title track as "one of metal’s greatest moments", describing the song as "delivering transformative, metal-thrashing transcendence."[6] Kyle Ward wrote a detailed review of the album for Sputnikmusic, describing it as "it is unrelenting, epic, melodic, heavy, somber, brutal, emotional, and technical all in one". He also argued that "For most band's, a CD like this would be their masterpiece, but with Dissection, it's just another album, not to mention their debut."[5]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Black Horizons" Nödtveidt, Zwetsloot 8:12
2. "The Somberlain" Nödtveidt 7:08
3. "Crimson Towers" Zwetsloot 0:50
4. "A Land Forlorn" Nödtveidt, Palmdahl 6:40
5. "Heaven's Damnation" Nödtveidt, Zwetsloot 4:42
6. "Frozen" Nödtveidt 3:48
7. "Into Infinite Obscurity" Zwetsloot 1:06
8. "In the Cold Winds of Nowhere" Nödtveidt, Zwetsloot 4:22
9. "The Grief Prophecy/Shadows over a Lost Kingdom" Nödtveidt, Öhman 3:32
10. "Mistress of the Bleeding Sorrow" Nödtveidt, Zwetsloot 4:37
11. "Feathers Fell" Zwetsloot 0:41
Total length: 45:38

Disc two (2006 reissue)[edit]



  1. ^ "The Somberlain – Dissection : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : Allmusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Ward, Kyle (June 22, 2007). "Dissection - The Somberlain (album review) - Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved November 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ Dissection. The Somberlain (CD album). The End Records (2006) TE072
  4. ^ "NO CLEAN SINGING » HEIRS TO THE THRONE: DISSECTION". Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  5. ^ a b "Dissection - The Somberlain (album review 3) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  6. ^ a b "Essential Black Metal Listening: DISSECTION The Somberlain - Metal Injection". Metal Injection. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  7. ^ a b "DISSECTION: Ultimate Reissues Of 'The Somberlain', 'Storm Of The Light's Bane' On The Way". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 2006-04-19. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  8. ^ "Dissection - The Somberlain (album review 3) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 2016-11-12.