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.
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." 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. 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."
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.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".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." 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."