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Soundtrack to a sleeping city - 88%

GuardAwakening, November 11th, 2013

Lifelover's notorious hybridizing of black metal with alternative rock genres gained the Stockholm-based group a huge following since their 2006 record label debut Pulver, here we see that same band evolving even further, carrying different sounds along the way. With black metal as their main influence, the band bring along crates full of other genres. Doom metal, dark ambient, post-punk and progressive rock are prevalent as well. Morbid screaming backed by furious guitars on one song can lead to a calming rock riff complimented by piano pieces and speech vocals. Or they may even throw in a song that's made up by nothing but electronics. Some of these elements can even be placed in one whole track altogether, almost as if Lifelover doesn't know what band they even want to be.

Not implying what was said above is a negative trait this album or the band in all hold, in fact the inconsistency was always the lively point for every album Lifelover would jolt out next in the studio. Tortured frontman Kim Carlsson, who is also known for his work in the ambient black metal trio Hypothermia, alternates his lyrics between his Swedish native tongue and English while screaming about agonizing depression, drug abuse, failed romance, hostility or dark sarcasm/humour. The band are obviously serious, but never take themselves too seriously, which can be noted in their extensive use of unfitting sound samples from slapstick films, children singing or Swedish documentaries. It definitely is as ridiculous as it sounds, but that's the beauty of it. Lifelover tend to take their foreign traits as far as a European country can make themselves, keeping to that most of their lyrics, album titles or song titles are not even in English. Albeit that their apparent far-fetched mannerisms also backup this same theory. It's almost as if the band make their Swedish peers (the likes of Opeth, Bloodbath, Dark Throne, In Flames and Arch Enemy just to name a few) seem very American by comparison.

B.'s innovative guitar playing shines whether it be he wants it to be balls-out brutal, melodic beauty or playing simple chords whilst H. takes the backdrop of things with his rhythm lines. Unfortunately bass playing is only barely audible, which tends to be a normal thing in depressive rock or DSBM (some DSBM bands don't even employ a bass player at all), why this is, I don't know. Although the bass lines seem to be fairly heavy on the track "Museum of Past Affections", I prefer any music I'm listening to employ heavier bass no matter what the genre is due to my ears being lent to a broader and larger soundscape than the thin lead lines that the artist has wrote and recorded. Ahh well, we can't always get what we want. Erotik is an amazing record, definitely needs to be peeped out by well... shit... pretty much anyone I guess that enjoys alternative rock or extreme metal. The band inerbreeds the two genres so much to the point where the record can easily be recommended by any fan of the two.

Review's favorite cuts: "Sweet Illness of Mine", "En man i sina sämsta år", "Besatt", "Höstdepressioner" and "Museum of Past Affections"