“Until the day you die, you will always be shit”
Music has always been used as an outlet for people across the world to express themselves and the various emotions they may feel. One artist might write music about the extreme joy and excitement they feel, or how sublime and fabulous life is. On the other end of the spectrum, an artist might write about how they want nothing more than to not exist; to cease living and to end the constant emotional, physical, and mental pain they feel. The following album is a pristine example of the latter.
Lifelover is a Swedish, Depressive Black Metal band, (shortened to DSBM), that is considered by many to be one of the biggest influences on the sub-genre. The band was formed in 2005 when “()” and “B”, the lead singer and guitar player, met in Stockholm, Sweden. The band was a bit of an enigmatic figure for a while as most of the members covered their faces during live concerts, used aliases, and had zero press or interviews to increase their popularity. Nonetheless, the band has gained a decent following in recent years; with the height of their popularity being the release of the album Konkurs in 2008.
Black Metal has always been known for being very depressive and melancholic music, as well as being very harsh music to listen to. Lifelover in some regards follows suite with the genre’s characteristics, but in many ways, the band puts its own spin on black metal, and creates some of the most bleak, depressive, and creative music in the genre. The inclusion of the piano and the organ, along with samples and field recordings, adds to the atmosphere of the album and keep the music interesting. Samples of little kids singing, what seems like, Swedish folk songs among other sound effects and samples, offer very strange tidbits of sound that help keep the music from becoming stale. The guitars have the familiar overly-distorted buzz tone many bands employ, but to what I am sure was many listeners surprise, there isn’t really any tremolo picking on this album. In fact, I’m quite impressed with the guitar playing that is on this record. It’s very different from what one would expect from genre staples like Immortal or Burzum, and the band shows it isn’t afraid to stray from the generic fast-picked riffs or sinister sounding chord progressions. On the contrary, some of the songs like “Vardagsnytt” almost have sort of a giddy, upbeat, main riff that is a refreshing change to hear.
The drums also stray from the formula quite a bit; there aren’t really any blast beats or double bass drumming here. The drums do a good job of playing creative beats that you probably wouldn’t expect to hear from a black metal band. The bass also manages to make an appearance here and there, which is always a nice surprise. Unfortunately though, it still is mostly mixed low in the tracks sans for a few moments. Then there are the vocals. The vocals on this album are some of the most emotive, original vocals I have ever heard. I don’t mean to blow it out of proportion but, “B”’s voice is akin to that of the Serj Tankian of System of a Down. No one sounds anything like the respective vocalists and their voices take their band’s music to a whole new level. The tortured screams “B” delivers on these tracks just sounds painful at times. It really sounds like he is suffering and adds immensely to the overall bleak atmosphere.
Speaking of the atmosphere; the mood and atmosphere on this album is definitely, in my opinion, one of the darkest, hopeless instances I’ve listened to. Of course the music is great, and the songs in general are very well written and what not, but the atmosphere of this album embodies pure depression. The guitar riffs, even the ones that initially sound more upbeat, usually end up coming together with the rest of the band to concoct this horrible image of someone who is stuck in this dark, cold, dreary, hole and just wants nothing more but to end it all. Personally I really felt the emotion in the band’s music and really understood the image the band was trying to paint with their music.
This album is not without a minor flaw though; specifically the middle bit of the album. On the sixth track, “Avbrott Sex” the pace of the album slows down some and the instrumental track is meant as both a segue to the second half of the album, but also as a bit of a rest stop for the listener. The following two tracks, (as well as the instrumental itself), are a little mediocre though. The songs aren’t inherently bad, so to speak, but they were just unremarkable. There wasn’t really anything in any of the songs that caught my attention. Thankfully, the album does start to pick back up with the ninth track, and then after that, the second instrumental, “Medicinmannen”. Then, the album closes with another strong track, and one of the many stand out tracks, “En Sång Om Dig”. Besides this minor flaw, this album is an incredible piece of work that sticks its head high above the mountainous pile of uninteresting, generic black metal bands that seem to encompass the music landscape as a bit of an example to others that a desolate, gloomy atmosphere is possible to make without having to stick so close to the formula that pioneer black metal bands have set for the genre.
- MS Salmonella
- Mitt Öppna Öga
- Kärlek – Becksvart Melankoli
- Avbrott Sex
- Herrens Hand
- Nästa Gryning
- En Sång Om Dig
Stand out tracks:
- MS Salmonella
- En Sång Om Dig
- Medicinmannen (not really a song but I like it)
1. Avbrott Sex