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Suicide-inducing perfection - 100%

GoatDoomOcculta, March 11th, 2007

As one can expect (at least I did), a metal band called "Lifelover" is either going to be either typical metalcore faggotry, phenomenally shitty pseudo-progressive music, or a truly amazing piece of work the likes of which has rarely (read: never) been heard before. Quite fortunately, the lattermost possibility is indeed a reality, and frontman Kim Carlsson (now known as ( )) has created something truly revolutionary with Lifelover, and oh-so-very twisted in a wonderful way.

Let me begin by saying that Pulver is by no means a typical metal (or any sort of music) album in any sense of the word. Everything from the vocals, to the inserted-sound clips, to the way everything is played, positively screams "unique", and is nothing remotely like anything I've ever heard before, although there are some similarities between this and Woods Of Infinity, but that certainly is not a bad thing.

Right from the beginning of the first track "Nackskott" (Neckshot), the listener knows that they're in for something new. The production quality, while not crystal clear, is nowhere near raw enough to take away from the experience, but not high-end enough to be obnoxious (late Emperor), and an ideal middle ground is established which is consistent throughout the album.

The vocals are the highlight of the CD, ranging from hysterial screams of maniacal hatred, to twisted mutterings and ravings, to clean spoken venomous verses, and all in all, conveying a beautiful sense of pure, unadulterated loathing for mankind, and an absolute crushing sense of despair to the listener. There really is no way to classify any of the vocals (i.e. death grunts/growls, black metal screeches, etc.), but they cover everything under the sun, and then take it to a previously unheard of extreme. Complementing the vocals and adding wonderfully to the overall insanity of the album are occasional sound clips from Swedish children's TV shows, urban warfare, disturbing sound effects, typical Italian accordian music, and even some porn. Surprisingly, none of it feels thrown in simply for the sake of "originality", but genuinely adds to the music and the twisted, sickening feeling one gets from listening to this.

The guitars are also widely undefinable, but for the most part are clean and generally acoustic, although at times, they dirge wonderfully and are suitably distorted to fit the music. There are moments where they sound like a sort of demented complement to something you would hear in a rather upbeat 90s pop song, but with the insane shrieking vocals and the dismal tone of the music as a whole, this just serves to further creep you the fuck out on your first few listens. Think late-Sentenced meets Celldweller, sort of. There are plenty of drums on Pulver as well, but nothing like one would expect on a metal album. As another reviewer very-fittingly put it "you won’t find raging blastbeats here, but then Lifelover are not about mindless brutality." The way that the occasional piano solo (...) is incorporated as well really adds to the overall depressive nature of the CD, and as with the rest of the nonconventional elements, does not feel thrown in or gimmicky in the slightest.

While I would by no means label Lifelover as "black metal" (and that comprises about 90% of what I listen to), there really is no fitting subgenre for this. It breaks all the rules, and does it wonderfully. Pulver is without a doubt the best album of 2006, and definitely a CD to be remembered. I absolutely cannot recommend this album enough, and it is an objective, universal truth that no one should not hear this album.