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Rotten Sound - 55%

Erin_Fox, October 28th, 2006

Lifend takes the male/female, dual vocal approach on “Innerscars”, a record that features well crafted songs and some of the most interesting compositional approaches in recent memory, but which often suffer from a jumbled sounding production during the album’s heavier sections. The guitar tones lack the thickness and edge that they deserve and vocally, things are at times too loud in the mix.

That said, there are some quite original things happening on tracks like “Blood-Red-Pain” and “Absence” that are worthy of a listen. The title track finds vocalists Alberto and Sara combining for a style that is reminiscent of Orphanage, while “Absence” kicks off with a beautiful acoustic passage that is nicely complimented by the soothing vocalizations of Sara. However, for this type of music, the heavier parts are mixed a bit chaotically. The group throws in some truly jazzy parts here, emphasized by a smooth saxophone sound.

Axe-wielder Andrea is a very skilled player bringing slick arpeggios and frantic riffing into the foray. During the breakdowns he performs some excellent classical styled acoustic playing, using nylon strings in order to give the tunes warmth. If you dropped Alberto’s voice in the mix a bit, these songs would sound much better. It is not that he delivers a poor performance, but his raw style at times overpowers the other players. “In Darkness I Bleed” is a tuneful interlude that focuses on the impressive technique of Andrea as the continuing saxophone theme gives the cut a different dimension.

“Shattering Assurance” opens with synth tones that lapse into chaotic blasting. The songs on “Innerscars” are very well written and the band carries an impressive presence performance-wise, but the production is often very challenging throughout the course of the album. Having said that, it seems that there is a great deal of potential for this band to broaden the horizons of extreme music with their entertaining arrangements and unique ideas. If you can get past the mix, there’s a lot that’s great about this release, especially the immensely original concept of adding the sax sounds.

Here’s looking forward to some great things from this band in the future as Lifend are an ensemble that show a high degree of potential to do some truly great things from a purely artistic, experimental standpoint. But potential alone does not ensure success.

Convoluted... - 60%

krozza, March 11th, 2005

Another tripped out affair from the eclectic Cruz Del Sur camp. I haven’t been a wrap for everything the Italian label has thrown my way (Ensoph and Eternal Flight) but with quality like Pharaoh, Mahavatar and the forthcoming Slough Feg, CDS is certainly forging a healthy roster. Sticking closer to home this time, they offer up the new disc from local lads (and lass) ‘Lifend’ entitled ‘Innerscars’. True to their philosophy of seeking out the more experimental genre-bending bands, Lifend presents the listener with more than your average metal fare.

Formed in 1999 out of the ashes of Haternal and Mourningstar, Lifend is a rather intriguing, if slightly frustrating quintet that opt for the more unorthodox road in terms of musical style. Fusing a multitude of influences that results in a sonically challenging set of compositions, Lifend are one part Gothic dark wave meets death metal meets ethic folk, jazz electronica. It’s all extremely adventurous and whilst it never really gels into anything mind blowing, it is clear that the word ‘predictability’ isn’t in their dictionary.

Initially, one could be forgiven for passing this off some sort of standard Black Gothic metal, and the assumption is correct based on Lifend’s instrumental template of harsh, blast like rhythms and guttural vocals. Yet, with further analysis ‘Innerscars’ is all about presenting a constant dichotomy of styles. Just when you think you’ve got the band figured out, the angelic and haunting female vocals of Sara will take you on a different ride, as will the presence of highly melodic elements that include serene acoustic passages, well-placed Hammond organ and the saxophone!! Be certain, Lifend refuses to be tied down in the one style for too long – as a result, this album is a constant, ever changing affair.

Now, while I will continue to applaud metal acts that push the boundaries, I’m not convinced that Lifend are actually doing anything remotely original. Plenty of dark metal/gothic metal bands have attempted the harsh/quiet vocalist interplay – Lifend’s attempts are most admirable, and with the somewhat unpredictable guitar riffage, there is potential here – however, Lifend’s major problem comes down to being too smart by half. In the attempt to host a menagerie of influences in their music, most of ‘Innerscars becomes a convoluted, jumbled mess. Add to that the confused and overbearing production and things quickly become more than one can handle. They’ve tried just a tad too hard in my eyes.

Instead of a meeting of influences to create a smooth and satisfying set of compositions, ‘Innerscars’ is a more like a violent clash of styles put through a blender in the hope that the final mix is something palatable. There are moments on this disc where you can almost sense the band and its production team (Alex [email protected] Mastersound) working its hardest on trying to stop the whirlwind of influences from spiraling out of control. As stated earlier, they only get it half right.

‘Innerscars’ is anything but predictable. This is a good thing. It is a pity that the average song writing and overall production qualities haven’t allowed Lifend to fully realize their ideas. Some definite refinement is needed next time around. One word review: Convoluted.

Krozza: written for www.pyromusic.net and www.wallsoffire.de

Melodic Metal at its best!! - 95%

EmilyMaddox, November 9th, 2004

Lifend gives atmospheric, melodic metal a new definition. This Italy based band is full of energy and talent. Their amount of energy radiates within each and every song off of the album. As I said, the band is considered melodic metal. They are just that. They are chock full of acoustic guitar parts, keyboards, synthesizers and even a saxophone not to mention three vocalists the lead vocalist being female.

Lifend creates a perfect blend of melody and death metal. The use of three vocalists really helps them to do this because the female sings the melodic parts and the two males growl in the death metal style. The use of a saxophone and acoustic guitars, gives the band an almost Dave Mathews Bandesque sound at certain parts. Of course within the same songs they change the tempo completely with fast and cutting riffs.

This band is perfect for anyone looking for something different for a change. However, it’s not meant for any narrow minded metal fans. Anyone who cannot appreciate the beauty of saxophones and classical acoustic guitars will not be able to get into this band. Open minded individuals will most likely enjoy this album as much as I do. And I can honestly say that it doesn’t get old, as I have been listening to it for three days now. I’ve heard it at least 15 times. That’s 15 hrs!

The lyrics are pretty cool. Some parts are Italian and the rest is in English. The English lyrics are pretty deep. They tell of pain and sorrow and the music amplifies the feeling of despair through its dark mood.

The album was very nicely done. It’s an excellent debut album from a clearly great band. I can’t wait to see what else they can do. Songs to check out include: Innerscars, Absence, Open Wound, and Spiral Dance.