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Near Perfection - 98%

Groops, February 7th, 2007

“Pulver” is one of those releases that creates an instantly lasting impression. Upon playing this for the first time I found this release totally mesmerising, it has been an album I have come back to time & time again. I would describe the sound as a combination of Cold Melancholic Rock & Suicidal Black Metal. Maybe how Bethlehem & Joy Division would sound doing a collaborative Katatonia cover. Remarkably strange & subtly twisted, rather than all out obvious weirdness.


As you give this more listens it becomes more apparent just how disturbing & truly sick this album is. The samples used make “Pulver” all the more uncomfortable & include Swedish Children’s television samples, porn, fairground type music, the sounds of a Child’s musical toys & spoken word. When bands delve into both the realms of Childhood & pervesity, there is just no way of avoiding the inevitable discomfort when listening. Lifelover pull this off to perfection & so the atmosphere is not only squalid but entrancing. There is also a sense of dark humour that is shadowing this release. Even looking at the first point of contact with the band; the name Lifelover, there is a sense of sarcasm. It is more than ironic when considering what sort of band this is (ie. a fucked up misanthropic freak of a band!!).


When I first heard Lifelover, the first opinion I had was that this is a truly unique band. At this time I had not heard Woods of Infinity. When playing “Ljuset” by Woods of Infinity I found the similarity between these two bands to be striking, even down to the type of samples used. It is slightly disappointing that Lifelover are not an originator of this sound, but still, “Pulver” is an instant classic & deserves this status within Underground Metal’s hall of fame.


The overall delivery of the music is expressive & richly textured, with a fairly low production. Harsh & hysterically screamed vocals are combined with, muttering, musings, whispers, angry retorts, & calm, cold singing. The guitar parts are mainly acoustic, & remain clean throughout. At times, the guitar melodies could be described as Pop, which when described in words sounds terrible but sounds shockingly good. The tracks are not generally super heavy or bassy but carry a heavy atmosphere that suggests the soul being stripped bare. The drumming is mid-tempo & features a use of cymbals which is complimentary to the sound. You won’t find raging blastbeats here, but then Lifelover are not about mindless brutality. There is also the addition of a piano to many tracks which add another layer of melancholy to this psychologically complex creation. The general approach has an dirty Urban feel to it & brings to mind all the darkness, chaos, confusion & perversity found in modern life.


Lifelover are honest, refreshing & mentally stimlating. I generally follow “True” Black Metal & can’t get enough of this album. Lifelover are not strictly Black Metal (nor have the band claimed to be any genre in particular), but they wrote one of the most promising debut albums of 2006! This is no time to worry about petty politics, just fucking get a copy!