Lifelover - Sjukdom review
|Release date:||February 2011|
01. Svart Galla
02. Led By Misfortune
04. Homicidal Tendecies
06. Doften Av Tomhet
07. Totus Anctus
08. Horans Hora
09. Bitterljuv Kakofoni
10. Becksvart Frustration
12. Instrumental Asylum
Oh, what a cruel mistress that bitch called irony is... It only figures that a band would disband due to the untimely death of their songwriter once they released what is, in my humble opinion, their best release to date, and what might have been the conception of the style they would stick to, giving us many more releases to enjoy.
To elaborate a bit, Lifelover are definitely one of the more unique younger bands, blending black metal with the melody of pop and rock, creating one vile piece of twisted sickness in the process. However, most of their previous albums I was unable to enjoy as much as they deserved, and I really can't tell why. Maybe the contrast between the two key elements of their sound was too much for me after longer listening sessions, or maybe it was because I never stuck with them and gave them enough time to be properly digested... Either way, Sjukdom does away with a fraction of what made Lifelover as unique in the first place, that unending clash between bright and dark, joyful and vile, cheerful and depressing and is instead more focused on delivering riff-based black metal. Don't take this the wrong way, however: Sjukdom still has Lifelover written all over it, only this time, instead of the usual schizophrenic 50/50 mix, the deck is stacked more to the black metal side, which in turn causes the album to sound more focused, loosing some of the uniqueness as a trade-off.
I'm stressing once more that you really can't mistake this album for anything else other than a Lifelover opus. Joyful melodies and poppy hooks are still frequently crammed alongside maniacal screams and grinding guitars, only this time the latter is more dominant in the mix. Sjukdom also features a much denser, heavier and crunchier tone that its predecessors, the reasons to this being both more riff-based songwriting and upped guitar distortion (see: "Karma"). Beautifully lethargic piano hogs the spotlight a fair amount, either by backing up the rest of the instrumentation, or by going solo through wonderful passages.
To many, the magic behind Lifelover was precisely the demented sickness spawned by the equilibrium of contrasting moods, thus it would not surprise me if Sjudkom is seen as a lesser album. I, on the other hand, applaud the decision to shift the fragile balance into one of the sides, as this is the first Lifelover album I can sit through at once and enjoy from start to finish, as opposed to just selecting a few separate tracks and going through them. Sure, it has its share of monotonous tracks, but none of them are a pain to listen to and barely disrupt the flow. I'd have loved to see what the band would have come up with next, but the tragic passing of "B" has put Lifelover to a definitive halt.
Many thanks to you, "B", even if for this album alone.
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