In 1988, a thrash metal band by the name of Siren’s Yell was formed in the Swedish town of Strömstad. Its members were Jon Nödtveidt, Ole Öhman, Peter Palmdahl, and Mattias “Mäbe” Johansson. The group recorded a single demo before breaking up in 1989. Nödtveidt joined the band Rabbit’s Carrot, where Öhman played drums.
Nödtveidt and Öhman “were never very comfortable in Rabbit’s Carrot, which also explains their short time in that band, as they wanted the music and lyrics to evolve on the extreme dark side. Jon would write songs and arrange them together with Ole in the rehearsal place, but the other members, didn’t feel that the material would fit the band. In autumn 1989, Jon Nödtveidt formed Dissection together with Palmdahl on bass. In the spring of 1990, they recruited drummer Öhman. In April 1990, the first official rehearsal tape Severing into Shreds was recorded and sent to underground fanzines worldwide “to mark the birth of DISSECTION, a band that was about to make heavy impact on the scene”.
The band recruited former Siren’s Yell bassist Mattias “Mäbe” Johansson, who was now playing with the local death/thrash metal band Nosferatu, as a live session member playing the rhythm guitar. Dissection’s first concert was held in October 1990 with death metal act Entombed.
In December 1990, the band recorded and released the demo The Grief Prophecy. It contained three songs and featured illustrations by the artist known as Necrolord, who later created most Dissection album artworks.
In January 1991, second guitarist John Zwetsloot joined the band, which now had a complete line-up “and could further develop their characteristic dual-harmony guitar-sound that was to become an important part of the band’s sound”. The first concert with Zwetsloot was held in February 1991 at a local death metal event in the band’s hometown Strömstad. As the demo was spreading in the underground scene, the French record label Corpsegrinder Records offered Dissection a deal to record an EP.
In April 1991, Dead, the notorious Norwegian black metal group Mayhem’s vocalist, committed suicide. A few days later, Dissection played the Mayhem song Freezing Moon in honour of Dead at a show in Falkenberg, Sweden, and made an unofficial special edition of the The Grief Prophecy demo with a cover drawn by Dead. In September 1991 the band record three new tracks for the 7” EP Into Infinite Obscurity, released in December 1991 by Corpsegrinder Records in a limited edition of 1000 copies. In December 1991 Nödtveidt and Öhman also played live in Askim, Norway, at a black metal concert arranged by the Norwegian Black Circle Nödtveidt had joined, and Euronymous, who led the Circle and the band Mayhem. Nödtveidt, Öhman and Euronymous performed Freezing Moon live.
In 1992 Dissection recorded a four-track promo tape and signed a one-album deal with No Fashion Records. In March 1993, the band recorded the full-length album The Somberlain, recorded and mixed at Hellspawn/Unisound studios with Dan Swanö. During that time, the band’s members, who were temporarily living in different towns, all moved to Gothenburg after the summer of 1993, where they shared a steady rehearsal place with At the Gates. The album was released in December 1993 and dedicated to Euronymous, who had been murdered earlier the same year.
John Zwetsloot were kicked out of the band after a gig in Oslo, Norway, on 14 April 1994. The day Zwetsloot was fired, Dissection called Johan Norman from Satanized (a short-lived project Nödtveidt was involved with), who showed up one day later and “proved to be a worthy replacement for John, having the motivation that John was lacking”. Dissection continued playing live, wrote songs for a second album, and entered the studio twice to record demos of new songs and the contribution Anti-Christ for the Slayer tribute compilation album Slatanic Slaughter on Black Sun Records. In November 1994, Dissection signed a deal with Nuclear Blast and focussed on the second album. In March 1995, Dissection returned to the Hellspawn/Unisound studios to record the second full-length album Storm of the Light’s Bane, followed by a three date tour through the UK with Cradle of Filth and a few concerts in Sweden.
During the summer of 1995 Nödtveidt and Norman joined the newly formed Satanic organization Misanthropic Luciferian Order (MLO). In September 1995 drummer Ole Öhman left Dissection and was replaced by Tobias Kellgren (ex-Satanized). He was introduced to the Swedish fans at a show with Morbid Angel at Kåren in Gothenburg, the 10th of October 1995.
In November 1995, Storm of the Light’s Bane was released by Nuclear Blast, followed by a two-week European tour through Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Sweden in December 1995, and the World Tour of the Light’s Bane” covering Europe and America, ending in 1997.
By the beginning of January 1996, Dissection was playing shows in Sweden before leaving for a UK tour with At the Gates in February, followed by a vast US tour with At the Gates and Morbid Angel in March. Back in Scandinavia, Dissection played at the Rockefeller in Oslo together with Darkthrone and Satyricon, marking the start of a co-headlining European tour. In April, in connection with the co-headlining European tour, Dissection released the Where Dead Angels Lie MCD, which contained the title track’s studio and demo version as well as other demo recordings and two cover songs.
In 1997, Dissection played the Gods of Darkness tour together with Cradle of Filth, In Flames and Dimmu Borgir. Dissection’s and Dimmu Borgir’s show at the Live Music Hall in Cologne, Germany, on 31 March 1997, was recorded and released by Nuclear Blast on the live split video cassette Live & Plugged Vol. II. Dissection’s World Tour of the Light’s Bane ended with an appearance at the Wacken Open Air festival, which was recorded and released on the Live Legacy album, and the Nuclear Blast festivals.
Nödtveidt’s murder conviction
On 18 December 1997, Nödtveidt and fellow MLO member Vlad were arrested for the murder of a 37-year old homosexual man, Josef ben Meddour, on July the 22, 1997. Nödtveidt received a 10 year sentence, and Necropolis Records released the compilation album The Past Is Alive (The Early Mischief).
Upon his release in 2004, Nödtveidt restarted the band with a completely new line-up, including only members able to “stand behind and live up to the demands of Dissection’s Satanic concept”. Dissection recorded a two-track EP entitled Maha Kali and toured heavily with the The Rebirth of Dissection tour.
In 2006, Dissection released their third full-length album Reinkaos through their own label, in association with The End Records. The band followed the teachings of the Swedish organisation known as the Misanthropic Luciferian Order (MLO), now known as Temple of the Black Light, and the lyrics in the Reinkaos album contain magical formulae from the Liber Azerate, and are based on the organisation’s teachings.
In May 2006, shortly after the release of Reinkaos, the band announced plans to split following a short tour. The tour was scheduled to include two appearances in the United States, but these were eventually canceled after Nödtveidt was denied an entry visa to the country, due to his previous incarceration. The band played its final European concert in Stockholm on Midsummer, 24 June 2006. Some former members of Dissection have gone on to form other bands, also influenced by their beliefs based on the MLO.
On August 13 2006, frontman Jon Nödtveidt committed suicide. According to the Swedish Expressen, the police said that Nödtveidt was found with a Satanic Bible in front of him, which Blabbermouth.net falsely reported to be a copy of The Satanic Bible. It was later confirmed by band member Set Teitan to be a Satanic grimoire, which is believed to be a copy of the Liber Azerate written by Frater Nemidal, leader of the MLO. With Nödtveidt’s death, any possibility to realize a reunion was lost, as he had remained the only original member since Dissection’s foundation; in fact, second founding member Peter Palmdahl had left the band in 1997, when Nödtveidt was arrested.