Retrospective: Dimension Zero – “Silent Night Fever”

Silent Night Fever - 2002

After thoroughly immersing myself in the In Flames discography earlier this week, it was inevitable that I would find myself revisiting some of the tangential work of the members of the Swedish death metal group. Among my personal favorites of these endeavors has to be Dimension Zero. Despite their on again/off again history that dates back to 1995, Dimension Zero has still managed to create some of the better death thrash the metal community has seen. Specifically, I refer to 2002’s Silent Night Fever, which I still revisit on a regular basis.

Dimension Zero isn’t exactly discussed among the likes of Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, or any other classic Gothenburg death metal group (and I would argue they should be), but their influences are more or less the same. Over the years, they have stayed true to a thrash take on death metal, with just enough melody to stay interesting, to parallel the early work of, say, In Flames (and by early I mean pre-2000). And unlike many of their fellow Swedish death metal groups, they have generally stayed true to those foundations since their inception.

Alright, so I’m drawing all these comparisons to In Flames for a reason. Dimension Zero was formed in 1995 by Jesper Strömblad and Glenn Ljungström, who were both guitarists for In Flames during their careers. What’s interesting is, as the Dimension Zero sound exerted furious thrash death on a consistent basis, the aforementioned In Flames continued to develop and evolve their sounds in new directions, despite Jesper being a primary songwriter for both. Regardless, if you’re one of the many that didn’t necessarily appreciated the varying direction In Flames took, this may appease you to a certain degree. But I digress (a phrase I’ve beenn waiting to implement). Since 1995, Dimension Zero has come and gone a couple times, but most recently has announced plans to reunite for Gothenburg Sound Festival 2016. And that’s where we stand today.

Let’s get back to the album we’re discussing specifically: Silent Night Fever. This was the first full length album in the Dimension Zero discography, and was only preceded by an EP titled Penetrations from the Lost World. This album dropped in 2002, so as much of Swedish death metal was turning in a new direction, Silent Night Fever was there to keep the foundations in check. With nine tracks covering just over half an hour, Silent Night Fever is an aggressive display of death thrash from the opening bars of the title track straight through until we ease through the closing “Slow Silence”.

The guitars of Jesper and Glenn punch away frantically throughout each track, even incorporating some grindcore elements in their rhythms. No track is over four and a half minutes, so their aggression is efficient and consistent start to finish. These elements, coupled with Jocke Göthberg’s ferocious barks and Hans Nilsson’s sporadic drumming (for lack of a better term) combine for a naturally raw energy. And it’s an energy that is absolutely relentless throughout. I mean, the second this thing kicks off, you find yourself tapping your feet and banging your head on an almost subconscious level. It has that kind of an impact on an audience. But, that doesn’t mean it’s without the same melodic elements that made Swedish death metal so widely accepted in its early days. Tracks like “Not Even Dead” and “They Are Waiting To Take Us” explore more straightforward passages and cleaner leads, especially in the choruses, that really enhance the sound in a noticeable way.

Anyway, that just my take on it. I attached a playlist below that you can check out for yourself. If you appreciate some of the classic Swedish death metal sounds from a couple decades ago,  it’s a solid album to revisit. It isn’t perfect by any stretch, but it sure gets its point across.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

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