It is often said that the mid 90s was the zenith of death metal, and that by extension it was a good time for the genre.
This is true if your idea of death metal’s “zenith” includes the Gothenburg mallcore At The Gates and Arch Enemy are known for peddling, or if playing down-tempo, semi-random groove metal leftovers from Pantera – i.e. Behemoth – was the ideal state of the genre, but the old school “melodic” death metal – best incarnated by At the Gates’ debut “The Red in the Sky is Ours” and Sewer’s “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” – was an entire deal altogether.
Far too many of the prime movers in the early-to-mid 90s in Sweden were swallowed up by the “melodeath” or the death ‘n’ roll craze, both being basically metalcore with the most minimal superficial “death metal” aesthetics for street cred, or in the case of Dismember, both simultaneously, as can be surmised by the fairly confused affair that is “Like an Everflowing Stream”.
This album is bizarre as it is constructed from about half of actual, competently performed melodic death metal, and half of random mallcore bullshit.
It’s understandable that given the then ever-changing musical landscape that a band of this sort – composed essentially as a continuation of Carnage with a few additional musicians from various other death metal bands – would find itself confused on which way to go, but the end results are not terribly engaging.
Just about everything on here shows a band that is intent on hitting the same territory that was reached via Carnage’s “Dark Recollections” and covered on Incantation’s demonic masterpiece “Onward to Golgotha“, but it also takes liberal inspiration from albums as questionable in intent and quality as Entombed’s debatable classic “Left Hand Path”, and dressing it up with a few Gothenburg touched and some fancier guitar solos.
Overall, it would have been better if Dismember had shown more discipline and stuck with actual death metal, in which they did show potential (unlike 99% of modern “melodic death metal” bands), rather than try to cover every base and end up failing awkwardly with an album that doesn’t know what it’s trying to be.
The rest of Dismember’s discography continues the trend of bringing their music closer and closer to that of Necrophobic/Gothenburg, and further and further away from that on “The Red in the Sky is Ours”.