Lifelover - Konkurs
Avantgarde Music
Depressive Black Metal
14 songs (59:25)
Release year: 2008
Avantgarde Music
Reviewed by James

Sweden has a fairly rich history of depressive black metal, with acts like Shining and the infamous Silencer of course hailing from that particular part of the world. Lifelover seem set to continue that tradition, playing that same, uniquely Swedish brand of black metal as the acts I've mentioned. It's a form that eschews furious speed for a more atmospheric sound drawing heavily on 80s post-punk and goth rock. It can go either way, really, with an over-reliance on the theatrics coming off as a little bit silly. Luckily, Lifelover do their bit to set themselves apart from the rest, having a little bit more of an experimental vibe. They occasionally utilize the same post-rock influences as say, Wolves In The Throne Room and there's some fairly curious samples employed throughout the album (just check the oompah band at the end of Konvulsion). As anyone who's seen the cover to their debut Pulver will know, there's a little bit a dark humour and playfulness here that makes a nice change from the “WAAAH I CUT MYSELF” whinings of say, Niklas Kvarforth (I can't imagine the aforementioned oompah band being an entirely serious gesture). Of course, there's irony present in the band's very moniker. Although the lyrics are all in Swedish, I gather they're written in the same shocking yet blackly humourous manner as Woods Of Infinity, for example.

Still, there are enough traits here to make this depressive black metal through and through. Ridiculously named vocalist ( ) employs a similarly hysterical sob to most other bands in the genre, though props to him for taking it further than most without coming off as a bit of an idiot. There's still enough tremelo riffing in here to satisfy the Gorgoroth fans here, of course, particularly on the likes of Spikan I Kistan and the malevolent opening to Shallow. Yet the haunting piano melodies scattered about on the very same track and the very rock-influenced drumming take the album to another place entirely. The production's all very slick, everything being audible while sounding dry and fuzzy enough to remain black metal. There's quite a bit of spoken-word throughout the album, delivered in a wonderfully OTT style that once again suggests that the band's tongues are firmly wedged in cheeks. Yet at the same time, there's never the feeling that this is simply a big laugh at black metal's expense masquerading as “irony”. There are enough high-quality riffs here to let us know that Lifelover genuinely have a passion for black metal.

Of course, Konkurs isn't entirely perfect. At just under an hour it's perhaps a little bit too long, especially as most of the tracks plough the same mid-paced furrow. The clean vocals that crop up on the likes on Cancertid have “acquired taste” written all over them, and the keyboards occasionally feel little silly. Yet Konkurs is still pretty enjoyable fare, throwing enough catchy hooks and melodies at you to have these songs looping in your head for weeks while remaining gloomy and blackened enough for you not to feel guilty about enjoying it. And, on top of that, the band throw in enough sonic experimentation to break new ground. If you're sick of all the bands dressing teenage angst up in corpsepaint and calling it suicidal black metal, then Lifelover may be right up your alley.

Killing Songs :
Shallow, Konvulsion, Spiken I Kistan
James quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Lifelover that we have reviewed:
Lifelover - Sjukdom reviewed by Jaime and quoted 46 / 100
Lifelover - Pulver (Reissue) reviewed by James and quoted 87 / 100
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