LIK - Besvärtade Strofer review


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Band: LIK
Album: Besvärtade Strofer
Release date: September 2005

01. Prolog
02. Syner
03. Vinterskog
04. Åkallelse
05. Varulvsvals
06. Begravd (Epilog)

Gothic black / folk metal
Frostscald Records

Line-up on the CD:
Graav - vocals, all instruments

In June 2010 Frostscald Records decided to re-release LIK's entire discography (a whopping three albums) for the convenience of those who missed out on the first wave of the band's recordings. There is no official website or even fan pages dedicated to the band, making LIK a very difficult subject to write about in terms of history and facts. Why not talk about the music then?

Besvärtade Strofer is a huge step forward from its banal predecessor. This release does away with the empty feeling caused by the lack of a bass guitar, adding flesh to the skeleton of LIK, making a more progressive leap into listenable territory, albeit one that comes with its fair share of detractors (not to mention its hard-to-define genre). Containing the atmosphere of Gothic metal, the more extreme aspects from black metal and straightforward folk metal passages, Besvärtade Strofer is quite an original output.

One of the more significant changes on the positive side of things, aside from the thicker sound provided by the mere presence of a bass guitar, is the prominent usage of clean vocals, more along the lines of your average Skyforger or Vintersorg pagan/folk metal chants. The music is darker and carries a more serious tone, maintaining its relatively slow pace throughout the duration of the album, yet it isn't as monotonous as Må Ljuset Aldrig Nå Oss Mer. "Prolog" and "Begravd (Epilog)" are heavily inspired (or at least very similar to) The White EP-"era" Agalloch, making for nice background music or a two-song homage soundtrack to "The Wicker Man" (maybe not that similar, but pretty darn close). "Syner" is a bit of an odd-man-out, even though I find it to be the strongest track overall. It's more aggressive, melodic and faster than other songs on the album, yet the change is welcome (even if it is only the second track), as the rest of the album is more cohesive, "making up" for the temporary change of course.

Besvärtade Strofer is straightforward and to-the-point the rest of the way through, despite its scattered influences. The production value seems to have taken on a more substantial role for this release, though the music still suffers from scratchy guitar sounds, vocals too low in the mix, and hollow drum beats (which are slightly less rock 'n' roll-inspired this time around, but that works to LIK's advantage). Just because Graav chose to include a bass guitar this time around doesn't mean he should have let up on the other instruments. That being said, there is a noticeable improvement in the production department and that creates a whole other world for this album when comparing it to LIK's debut. Having made a successful leap from the rather weak debut, LIK still needs to find that fine balance between a unique sound and listenability for their next release, Lekamen Illusionen Kallet, to be more successful.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 6


Written on 10.06.2010 by Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.

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