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Lekamen Illusionen Kallet. - 60%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 7th, 2010

Seconds before I started to write this review, I noticed that Lik have reformed and have been a band again since June of this year. Astonishing. I don’t know how long I would have gone without knowing that piece of information if I had not sat down to review what I thought was their swan song, ‘Lekamen Illusionen Kallet’. Unbeknownst to me, the title for this third full-length is actually the name of the band, too. I had always assumed they were just called Lik. I’m very stupid, it seems, though we knew that already. I’m not at all surprised they’ve abbreviated it because Lekamen Illusionen Kallet is one hell of a mouth full, especially for your average Englishman who, naturally, only speaks the one language. On we shall press, despite my faltering personality and inabilities. ‘Lekamen Illusionen Kallet’, the self-titled third album, is actually my least favourite of the three. Looking back at the progression of the band, it’s difficult to see how they messed this one up, though it is by no means an area of their discography that should be whitewashed over.

This album is the shortest of the three, spanning just under thirty minutes long and containing only the four songs. Although Lik’s albums have all been relatively short, the length of this album still managed to take me by surprise. Considering the album ends with two uneventful instrumentals, I would much have preferred Sweden’s finest occult black rock artists to have made this a significantly more lengthy addition to their wonderfully hypnotic discography. This album is more of an EP than a full-length and, considering the band are back together again, I think I may treat it as such and forget that this was once our swan song from the Swedes, a band whom deserve a much better parting gift than a short, uninspiring finale. The first two songs, what I like to call the “proper songs”, are great. In fact, ‘Röd Puls’ represents some of Lik’s finest work. The song writing is immense. It manages to tie in all the elements that have made Lik so phenomenal down the years all into the one song and it makes the album feel as if this is going to be a strong farewell.

Although the album exists in an expected form, the content is still very pleasing. It’s reminiscent of their other albums, though Lik have not been one for too much adventure outside of their already set patterns, which is strange because I’ve yet to hear another band like Lik. The atmosphere is still the same. That spacey, entrancing vibe still exists to excite. The devilish dissonance of the distortion from the guitars still exists and the haunting vocals are as powerful as ever on the opening two songs but the joy is short lived. The instrumental songs by themselves would be fine but they’re simply not wanted, or needed on this album. Together they take up over ten minutes of the albums duration when the album itself is only twenty-seven minutes long. I feel somewhat cheated. As if the Swedes took the easy way out and that their troubles, and whatever made them break-up in the first place, took precedence over providing the fans with what they deserve and require. What I personally require is more in a similar vein to ‘Röd Puls’. Hypnotic atmospherics, glorious melodic guitar, melancholic soundscapes and those beautifully haunting vocals from Graav.

I’ve come to expect great things from Lik, so the fact that this album 50% unfulfilling songs is a sham. ‘Vredens Trolldom’ isn’t exactly an instrumental track. It does contain vocals, but not in the same capacity as the regular songs do. The vocals are whispered, with some agonising background chanting going on almost undetected. They don’t offer the same haunting inspiration as they normally do. The vocals on this particular song aren’t meant to be a main feature of the song, although I’m not entirely sure what is. With the other song, ‘Visioner Om En Ödslig Framtid’, this is completely instrumental. It isn’t anywhere near as affective as the opening two songs. It uses that same bouncy bass sound, with the bass playing a central role in the song, but it’s far too slow moving and ponderous. It doesn’t take advantage of the regular energetic sound of Lik and seems to pine away in solitude, as it is unlike any of the previous songs, therefore it feels out-of-place and unwarranted. I’m glad Graav has decided to resurrect this band because they deserve another shot at the big time. This album could have been spectacular, but falters half-way through.

A fresh scent follows the trail anew - 78%

autothrall, June 28th, 2010

The third and final album of Sweden's LIK (excluding the possibility that Graav will record more now that he has revisited the project) is used as an attempt to tie off the ends of the previous two works, and though a defective version with an improper track list and lackluster production was released previously via Agonia, this new Frostscald release contains the material as intended. According to the bio, this record was thrown together rather quickly, in an inspired burst of creativity on the part of its maker, and that may explain its very short length.

Lekamen Illusionet Kallet, the spelled out namesake of the band's acronym, is only about 24 minutes long, with 4 tracks, but I was quite pleased to find a greater semblance to the debut Må Ljuset Aldrig Nå Oss Mer than the acceptable but underwhelming sophomore Besvärtade Strofer, despite the interesting lyrical concept of the latter. I find the tones here almost perfectly satiated, with an honest crispness like the debut, but serving to fix some of the shortcomings. The drums remain louder here like the second album, though still indicative of the simplistic rock influence of similar acts like a Joyless or Forgotten Woods, but the bass is also thankfully running right up the middle as intended.

"I Tidens Ände Är Det Tron Som Består" is incredibly sincere and organic sounding, as it trudges through some varied discordant rock riffing that really picks up steam in the bridge, as a spike of melody glints across its dreary surface. The entire, lilted atmosphere of this track puts you right back in the mood of the debut, and then the "Röd Puls" revisits the dark and primitive Gothic/surf pulse of "Hate to Be Human", with faint guitars repeated over steady, subtle bass and all manner of rising and falling whispers and moaning. "Vredens Trolldom" is somewhat of the album's crushing piece, with caustic, creepy guitars over another gently pumping bass line, and another serving of Graav's ranting tongue. The sheer mystique of the metal riff that comes into play before 3:00 with the deep horn in the backdrop is quite a touch, and "Visioner Om En Ödslig Framtid", the closer is this morbid instrumental piece which with glinting, knife-edge guitars that would fit perfectly in a silent black/white horror film, or perhaps some grim, hopeless Western of antiquity.

Lekamen Illusionen Kallet is rather brief, and for that reason some might consider it more of an EP than a true full-length effort, but at least it doesn't squander its length on anything less than titillating. The writing is very comparable to the work the debut, and more of an extension on that with higher production values, which cycle it more closely towards the second album, so it functions as a fitting bookend to the Graav's original concepts. This is only going to entertain a select audience, like anything else the man has released, but it's a fairly fresh twist on a genre in dire need of evolution, even if the humble tones of LIK might seem more like a regression to a path black metal might once have strode upon, but didn't.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

The last whispers from LIK! - 80%

AntonJ, November 13th, 2008

So I'm the first one to write a review for this...
As you probably already know LIK is a two man project from Sweden, with Grav as front man. I first came in contact with this band through the more famous act Armagedda, as its Grav’s main project. Or to be more precise, was his main project. It saddens me that he’s decided to take another path in life and quite music. Anyway as Armagedda is strictly black metal, LIK is more a mixture of occult rock and black metal. Don’t get me wrong it’s not some trendy black’n roll shit, this is something else.

However I have mixed feelings about this album, the last material released by LIK. The album consists of four tracks and could more be considered an ep than a full-length album. Though this is not a matter to argue over! If you have listened to Armagedda or any of the previous releases by LIK you know that the lyrics have a special feeling to it. They’re written in a poetic and intelligent way, something that appears to be rare these days. One could sum it up by stating that there’s a lot of afterthought put into the lyrics! The lyrics have not been published as far as I know, though one can pretty much understand what Grav is singing (if you know Swedish that is)

Now the music is on the other hand a bit different from the previous releases by LIK. The guitar stands in the centre of attention (as always), and is built up by repeated melodies. The drumming has never been the strong instrument in this project but on l.i.k it doesn’t really matter that much. The first two tracks include lyrics while the other two are instrumental songs.

The instrumental songs are really just a couple of notes played repeatedly on the guitar. Something like this usually tends to get boring after a couple of minutes. Though Grav has a way of creating simple music that doesn’t sound cheap. Instead of getting boring these two tracks turn out to be very atmospheric!

As I already declared I have mixed feelings about this one! Mostly because it doesn’t reach up to the heights of LIK’s previous releases. Compared to the oh so great Besfärtade Strofer this album seems to fade away.

However this is not a bad album, far from it. The second song on the album is amazing and embraces the concept of LIK very well. Though do to a screw up by their label, Agonia records, the second and third song has changed names with each other.

If you already have the earlier material by LIK, then you should considered getting this one. If that’s not the case I would rather recommend adding “Besfärtade Strofer” to your collection.