Thursday, February 18, 2016

Black Metal History Month: Looking Back in Anger -Lifelover: "Sjukdom"

These guys are legends in this genre. I haven't listened to this album in a minute , but wore it out when i first discovered these guys. When it comes to the emotional element of this music that might not be as mean or heavy, but they are perhaps the most expressive. 'Led By Misfortune" finds them locked into a heavier chug, with the drums playing a more punk like role. Vocally there is a harsher tone to the anguish. The riffs sound more like Life of Agony than black metal to me on this one. There is a slower almost ballad like mood to "Expandera" , as the piano tinkles over the mid tempo double kick and the vocals have a more somber spoken quality. They are not afraid to experiment with the guitar tone sometimes going for a more indie rock clean tone.

They effectively convey a psychotic break trhoug there music on " Homicidal Tendencies" before locking into an empowered chug. There is more of a weird punk thing going on with "Resignation" which takes me back to the 90s when metal bands where blending weird rock elements in an attempt to find their place in the changing climate.  "Doften Av Tomhet" finds them indulging in more of the spoken musings. Towards the song's midway point they find themselves locked into a very Celts Frost flavored riff.  Then there are songs like "Totus Anctus" that finds the band hitting both their heaviest moments and their most atmospheric. If it wasn't for the gargled vocals and the kick of the double bass, they would hit a more straight up rock tone on "Horans Hora". The vocals reach an almost death metal gurgle on this one. They have a knack for darkening even those moments up.

"Bitterlijuv Kakofoni" takes a trippy turn, bordering on goth.  The guitar tone is very Marilyn Manson. They get much heavier on the less introspective "Becksvart Frustration". Riff wise like the other songs its pretty straight forward. Vocally it is a lower growl that casts more of a shadow on the song. They drop into a lower more death metal key that makes it much heavier. Nedvaknande" is more rock n roll until they slow the riff down and pound into. Another song with a spoken narrative than an attempt to sing. "Instrumental Asylum" is the only real fast forward classic on here, as it just doesn't do anything interesting enough to justify being an instrumental and begs for some real singing over it.

They drop down to the strum of "Utdrag" that has almost lounge lizard jazz drumming under it.  The album closes with the heaviest song 'Karma" , but  at first it doesn't really black metal as it carries more of a nu-metal stomp, until the blast beat shows up for a second.I'll round this one up to a 10. Years later it was interesting to listen to with a set of fresh ears and discover this album is not as black metal as everyone made it out to be when it came out. Still there is no denying the mood it creates and is regarded as one of the best depressive black metal albums. It is a very dynamic album and shows that sometimes less is in fact more .

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