Lifeless - Beyond the Threshold of Death
Ibex Moon Records
Death Metal
9 songs (34'29")
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Alex

German Lifeless don’t make any secret as to what creed of metal they subscribe to. With the words like “Entombed”, “Iron Cross” in song titles and the cover of Dismember Casket Garden, the intent is announced loud and clear – traditional old school death metal is in store. Upon popping this in I went for the cover first, why dink around? If the genre classic is given proper treatment, the rest could groove itself into place. Much to my delight two words came to mind listening to Casket Garden Lifeless version – authentic and meaty, just enough modern touch in the sound to fill up the old gnarly skeleton. And, on cue, the rest of the album follows the strategy where adherence to Swedish death metal school is pretty literate, with a few deviations mainly focused on jumping across the pond to reminisce in the style of early Death with an occasional hotwire solo.

To all politicians thinking that starting a next war will solve a problem – Lifeless captures the brutal soulless nature of warfare beginning with Intro. Chill in the air, booted feet sloshing through the muck on their way to the unknown graves – you would not want to be there yourself, so why send somebody else to the front lines? From there mostly mid-tempo, simple, but catchy guitar riffs march along until collapsing in brief doomy exhaustion, only to resume hacking away after the moment passes (Entombed in Unknown Graves, title track). The denser, not purely cutting buzzsaw, guitar sound serves as a logical segue for Lifeless to be “dooming” things up once in a while or even blending in a totally clean guitar line (Under the Sign of the Iron Cross). Letting those slower tortuous melodies flow is definitely a forte for the group and provides some short introspective moments of reflection. Faster, more up-tempo compositions tend to be more outwardly melodic (Retaliation) and bring out oh-so-familiar old thrashy Swedish riffs (Seed of Hatred).

Guitarist Marc gurgles his vocal lines along, and just about every song has a distinct solo, with not many of them fitting the texture necessarily, but with all of them going outright bonkers.

One of my previous co-workers made some excellent pottery, and when I asked him why he doesn’t go more to the local festivals to exhibit he snickered and said that his pieces are art and many of the exhibitors I compared him with are simply quality craftsmen. Lifeless certainly do not reinvent how to row the death metal boat, but their craftiness in following the blueprint is to be commandable. American stalwart death metal label Ibex Moon apparently thinks so as well, reissuing this album originally recorded in 2008.

Killing Songs :
Retaliation, Beyond the Threshold of Death
Alex quoted 74 / 100
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