Lifend - Innerscars
Cruz Del Sur Music
Dark Melodic Metal with MeloDeath and Gothic Parts
9 songs (48'53")
Release year: 2004
Lifend, Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

It is hard to hail from Italy, specifically from Milan, have both female and harsh male vocalists, practice heavy guitar playing and NOT be compared to Lacuna Coil. Those guys (and girl) made it pretty big, large tours, MTV videos being the testament. There are no MTV videos in the immediate future of Lifend, but I am sure the band would scoff at the comparison with their unknown-to-glory country mates. Rightfully so, since those many facets that make up Lifend also determine it to be a strong individual, and I would say at times unusual, entity.

The first few moments of the opening title track hint at the keyboard present melodeath riffs a la Soilwork, but then, just less than two minutes in, there is this passage where Sara, female vocalist, is heard in the background. From that moment on I knew this album would be different, trying to mix together At The Gates/Soilwork/Edge of Sanity aggressiveness and gothic dreamy escapades. Atypical, curious cocktail which Innerscars proves to be not corny at all. Often, two different sides of Lifend, their Jekyll and Hide, exist separately from each other. Shattering Assurance does not stray off the beaten melodic death path for a while, while Open Wound is framed with At The Gates style intro and outro with dark melodic middle filling. Such direction would be, however, simplistic and not worthy of the goals Lifend apparently established for themselves. They want to blend the styles seamlessly, throwing guitarist Alberto’s screams and Sara’s sensuality in cool guitar chord driven duet (title track), or have her sing alongside Roberto’s (bass) guttural emanations in Spiral Dance. Sara is also perfectly fine all by her lonesome tuning to heavy riffery in Blood-Red-Pain. Her lower than Christina Scabbia’s voice in that song reminds me a lot of Johanna DePierre, and portions of the song are very reminiscent of Amaran seeing how female vocals glide over heavy syncopated background.

Lifend is all I have described, yet it is so much more. How about practically flamenco acoustic passages (Absence) or saxophone (!!) leads on half of the tracks? Sax sounds particularly well trading off leads with guitar in Absence. Lifend can go for elecrogoth intro (very much like Beseech) in Blood-Red-Pain, bombastic gothic atmosphere of Tristania in Memorie or add spacey metallic sounding synthesizers (Shattering:Assurance). In Darkness I Bleed is a full-on dark acoustic instrumental piece where acoustic guitar playing is so well recorded it is pretty much right next to your ear, so the listener can appreciate the skill with which Andrea plays his sarabandas. Singing some songs (or portions of them anyway) in Italian only adds mystique.

One thing is certain, Innerscares never grows stale with all the changes taking place. However, it is not easy listening either and requires persistence and open mind as so many genres are crossed over. What the band needs to work on, in my humble opinion, are the transitions from one mood to another. In some otherwise stellar tracks (title song, Absence) death and gothic parts are butt-ended against each other. It would have helped to slow the pace down slowly going into a dreamy interlude or ratchet up the pressure before going full bore.

While fast aggressive thrash beat is not Lifend strong suit, and their melodic death parts are very much standard, Innerscars wins on the strength of its originality everywhere else. This is recommended to those not afraid to explore outside the box.

Killing Songs :
Innerscars, Absence, In Darkness I Bleed, Open Wound
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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