Friday, February 26, 2021

Is it cold in here, or is it just me?

 Lifelover, a truly odd band which has a strange place in the Black Metal scene. To truly pin point a genre or a distinct sound to this band would be doing them a disservice. Lifelover, formed in 2005 by Kim Carlsson and Jonas Bergqvist (also known as B in the band), created a truly chaotic and depressive sound, fusing genres like Black Metal, Death Metal, Post-Punk, Post-Rock, among other labels we tend to try and pigeon hole onto bands. They've truly formed a sound that is distinctly them, a heavy, dark, overbearing feeling of existential dread seep their discography. Though, the particular album I'll be discussing is their 3rd album, Konkurs. 

This album, shares many of the other qualities of their past 2 releases at the time, which were decorated with skeletal guitar riffs and a cold, deranged atmosphere you could cut with a knife. This album simply takes it further and to the next level. Since it is their first album with an actual budget from a record label, which enabled them to focus more on the details of the project, and it truly shows. The opening track, Shallow, really shows off the expansiveness of their sound, with a spine chilling piano piece in the middle of Kim's harsh vocal performance, which ranges from screeching and a true psychotic yelling, to timid whispers of a madman. The lyrics, while almost all of the song are in Swedish, tell different tales of love, loss, drugs, sex, misanthropy, and a general hatred towards society, but mainly, themselves. While the English translation doesn't do the original lyrics any justice, the message is still there, and the point comes across very well. 

The one song lyrically that stands out in my mind is the 8th track off the album called Altid - Aldrig (Always - Never in English.) its a song that captures the life of a true manic depressive, a twisted happiness that can gnaws and claws at Kim, who's vocal performance mimic well the emotion the lyrics are putting out there. A desperate, bitter cry to his savior who would most likely never come. The production on the album is the 'cleanest' one in their discography, with cold steely guitars, an icy programmed drum machine, which honestly fooled me until I read the lineup for the album there being no true drummer (though that changes in their next release, their EP Dekadens). 

The first half of the album sonically and emotionally is much more heavier, as if they're carrying a burden with them, while the second half of the album starting with the song, Stangi P.G.A Semester (translated to Closed Due to Vacation in English) seems like an almost cathartic release for them, as the album gently settles down in a more slow, downtempo direction, as if they had accomplished a truly exhausting emotional feat, with the song Spiken I Kistan (The Nail in the Coffin) is an almost triumphant ending to the album, with the lyrics, while self deprecating, has a true message of not idolizing them for their madness, and abuse on their bodies from drugs and cutting them selves, which the band is well known for. Co-founder B, sadly passed away in 2011 due to just that, a prescription drug overdose, which led to the band ending their run with a short, yet very powerful discography of 4 albums and 1 EP, with Konkurs, being their magnum opus in my opinion. Even the name of the band its self, Lifelover, an almost ironic name for a band with what appears to be a lack of love for life, come off as ones who are almost truly in touch with all aspects of life. Because at some point, we all have to face harsh realities and to me, music like this is a good outlet for those who have an almost hard time processing such emotions. Hopefully I have opened some into checking out this album, or maybe their other releases. Besides Konkurs, I would suggest their first album Pulver, with Dekadens being my 2nd recommendation and a good companion piece to Konkurs since they share similar production style.

Originally Written: 12/21/2020

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