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Lifelover's first, brilliant masterpiece - 97%

Verd, June 24th, 2012

“Pulver” is the second Lifelover recording out of six. Originally released in 2006 as their first full-length, it features B playing guitars, bass and piano, ( ) providing vocals and guitars, plus 1853 performing additional vocals; everyone of them also provided speechs throughout the song, and the whole band along with LR wrote the lyrics.

"Pulver" is actually a masterpiece of innovation in the musical world, creating in my opinion a new genre, made up mainly by different kinds of vocals combining through the songs (speechs, screams, shrieks and clean vocals), brilliant melodies often played by acoustic and/or electric guitars with the help of some piano notes, and swaps from acoustic to electric music. The opener Nackskott is a clear example of Lifelover's style: a somehow happy, acoustic guitar melody takes the song into ( )'s screams, only to take back the former acoustic melody, which then fades into a heavy, electric part in which ( )'s vocals keep on changing from harsh to clean. This pattern is followed by Vardagsnytt too, an even "happier" song (there would be much to say about Lifelover's approach to life, which is evident even just by comparing the name of the band, the music, the lyrics and the band members themselves!) which features low voices along with a brilliant guitar melody, ending into a solo in the end, another time made up by five or six notes sapiently repeated.

Stockholm is even greater: an acoustic guitar melody takes the listener to the point in which the drum machine starts to accompany ( )'s awesome clean vocals, which are then substituted by a whistled melody and another acoustic part, which bursts out into a heavy electric guitar part. Lastly, I would talk about M/S Salmonella, in which the electric guitar melody is aided by few brilliant piano notes; ( )'s voice explore yet another field, with some screams closely related to black metal.

Lifelover's devotion to piano melodies is clear in songs like Medicinmannen, in which B's piano directs the whole track, accompanied by guitar melodies and a long speech in the background, or like the brilliant Kärlek - Becksvart Melankoli, opened by an awesome piano solo, then reached by a clear guitar and some catchy keyboard notes; the song actually, as always in Lifelover's masterpieces, at some point changes into a different mood: ( )'s desperate raw vocals transform the peaceful piano tune into a track devoted to suffering (note the title: Kärlek - Becksvart Melankoli, "love - pitch black melancholy"!), which then resolves itself into another two minutes of great acoustic and instrumental tunes.

Lifelover's lyrics, almost entirely in Swedish, are pure masterpieces, and they will even progress throughout the years (in "Konkurs" and "Sjukdom" they are, to me, unbelievably inspired and touching); they deal with some deep and difficult themes such as anxiety, agoraphobia, drugs, misery and urban alienation, as one can see, for instance, in Stockholm, whose lyrics are related to that argument, or in the apparently happy Vardagsnytt, which can be translated as "everyday news" and talks about Stockholm's dark, desperate side: "jag sitter här, stilla och tyst i gammal misär / solen går ner utanför mitt skitiga fönster [...] staden skall åter gå till sömn i väntan på en ny gryning, en ny dag / i väntan på det oundvikliga" - something like "here I sit, still and quiet in old misery / the sun goes down outside my dirty window [...] the town will once again fall asleep, waiting for another dawn, a new day / waiting for the unavoidable". I have found Lifelover's lyrics - in all of their albums - truely touching and emotional, and since English translations can be found everywhere I would suggest to everyone to read carefully what they are singing about. It will surely be a pleasant experience.

"Pulver" is, to me, one of the best albums of the last years, and its variety is so wide that it can not be included into one or more genres: we have black metal, acoustic piano music, clean vocals mixed up with speechs, screams and growls, electric and acoustic guitars combined and many other kinds of music which is useless to expand upon. Lifelover's genius, managed by B's insane amounts of creativity (his death in 2011 is to me one of the worst losses ever in the musical world), emerges in a pure way on "Pulver", a way which will still evolve in the next albums, gaining more "heavy" and electric sounds on "Dekadens" and "Sjukdom", or more instrumental melodies on "Erotik"; thus, "Pulver" is highly recommended to virtually anyone since its songs are one more beautiful than the other, greatly different and featuring dozens of astonishing, innovative, extremely catchy melodies.