Tuesday, December 2, 2014
There are times when I wonder what happened to depressive suicidal black metal, forgetting there are tons of basement bands all over the world releasing it, then I wonder about what happened to good depressive black metal, like where the hell is that Totalselfhatred album that was coming out this year? Then luckily before any end of the year lists were started I stumbled upon the new project from the surviving members of Life Lover. They also grabbed the bassist from the Shining. So you know things are about to get depressing as fuck. So grab your pills and razor blade.
After a hesitant intro piece the launches into the beautiful clanging of "Mycelium veins". This isn't blast beat black metal by any means. It slowly swells in intensity before bringing it back down for the desperate cry typical of the mental breakdowns dsdm singers like to emulate. Here it just happens to be be convincingly and more conviction than the combined tears of these imitators haunting their parents basements can muster. Then comes the incredible thirteen minute journey of "Forsok till Forstorelse" or "attempted destruction". The start at doomy rock pace before their medication wears off and they are back weeping in the sewers of despair. While wallowing in this they bring in a sax. There is a jazz like delicacy here that some how doesn't brighten the mood at all. Instead it becomes the perfect soundtrack to laying in a blood stained bath tub contemplating the futility of your existence. When the heavy build comes because you know it will it's done in a more of a thundering rock manner.
"en Ljusare Morgondag" or " a brighter tomorrow" is ironically titled in the darkness that descends upon this song. It has the raw punch of old Shining. The vocals range tortured gurgles more characteristic of dbsm to a baritone moan that comes closer to a croon. These guys have always know how to rock out a droning riff back from the Life Lover days and employ a similar attack here, making them the Velvet Underground of black n roll. The cleaner Cure-ish passages are more defined than back when this thing was delved into in Life Lover. The production is cleaner than most Life Lover as well, though still retaining a very live feel when the distorted guitar comes in.
There is almost a grunged out indie rock feel to "Descending ascension". It hangs onto this groove until they have another collective low swing, that's allowed a release through a more sonic rock build. They capture a powerful cathartic emotional moment in this song that is not contrived in it's self deprecation. The songs on this album have a seemless organic flow. None of the changes seem forced, which is impressive considering the dramatic transitions some of the songs. A good example lies in how from out of a delicate interlude comes "Varelsen" or creature. This lingers in it's down trodden lumber with spoken word vocals narrating the first half of the song. With sax in tow they stomp into the pound of sludged out hard rock.
"Far Val" closes out this album. At this point I have resigned myself to the fact I am going to be cranking this all afternoon. I really couldn't have chosen a better time to listen to this as I just awoke from a feverish nap sleeping off a migraine, so it's a surreal introduction back into metal. Which if you can imagine sitting at a computer and listening to metal all day with a migraine, makes you only want to listen to Alcest. This song takes you out on a similar cloud of shoe gazing transcendence. This is a perfect album, didn't even have to keep score it's a ten.