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Progress of machine intelligence. - 85%

Diamhea, September 25th, 2015

Down the iniquitous assembly line comes Lyfthrasyr's third industrial black/death amalgamation entitled The Engineered Flesh, a shoe-in for the collective playlist of fans of Myrkskog, Vesania, later Decapiated and to a lesser extent, Dimmu Borgir. The album is indeed a mechanized war machine as advertised, fusing a blast-centric blackened death armament with all manner of synthetic trinkets of terror. The end product isn't particularly idiosyncratic, but the aggression of the material certainly puts a show on worth sitting through 'til the end. This project is more or less the brainchild of one member (Aggreash), whose vision is funneled through Tomasz Janiszewski's quantized and inhuman drum performance, resulting in a final product worthy of a wide berth on a structural level alone. The gripping, dark miasma articulated by the programmed electronics does thread reasonably well throughout the metal constituent.

Lyfthrasyr are obviously not the only band working within this field, as the formula has plenty of potential and is worth exploring by deft musical minds. Aggreash is certainly a musician worthy of some admiration in this regard, composing all of the material by his lonesome. The collective opulence of the album is impressive with this taken into account, but this certainly serves as no handicap throughout. In many ways, I am reminded of Zyklon's World ov Worms, especially when Lyfthrasyr play up the industrial death slant that largely dominates the sound. This element is prevalent in tunes like "Evolution," which are (dare I say) catchy concerning the vocal patterns. The orchestrations are pretty dialed-down considering implementation, but are endearingly integrated. I would steer fans of later Septicflesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse elsewhere, as The Engineered Flesh is hardly the exhaustively bombastic display some might expect. Riffs are never tossed aside for sappy melodic posturing, resulting in an airtight yet suffocating atmosphere that defines the dystopian aesthetic attempted by so many acts.

Take "Mind Simulator," for instance, which opens with a murky dirge that actually reminds me of "Blood Hunger Doctrine" from Death Cult Armageddon, except the rest of the song doesn't suck. Terror and tension are both hardly at a premium throughout The Engineered Flesh, which fires off harried and surgical chugging alongside brooding pianos apropos to controlled chaos. This dichotomy results in an atmosphere that sounds eerily identical to Shade Empire's Intoxicate O.S., albeit with far stronger riffs. The additional use of the choral backings always sounds fresh here, bouncing starkly off of the choppy harsh vocals in "Preserved Identity." The guitar tone grinds like a rusty busszaw, staggering its way about the impressive genre-crossroads utilized by the band.

"Wisdom in the Loop" builds tension through well-utilized samples and comes to a head at the brooding and monolithic-sounding "Life Overdose." This seven-plus minute number serves as a convincing finality to the desperately bleak narrative. Lyfthrasyr really earned their stripes with The Engineered Flesh, making up for the directionless nature of their earlier material. The album showcases a very firm grasp on the various constituents employed to make the final product. Fans of industrial death/black metal should give this one a spin as soon as possible.

Lyfthrasyr – The Engineered Flesh - 100%

ptsc, April 12th, 2014

Blood music
There’s more science fiction in Black Metal! After the ingenious Vyre debut album The Initial Frontier Pt. 1 proved successfully that these two genres have some things in common, Karlsruhe-based Lyfthrasyrs third album The Engineered Flesh dives deep into the dark abyss of dystopian hard sf, creating a rather unsettling vision of our near future. Unlike their colleagues, Lyfthrasyr stay on solid ground, will say: on Earth, and give their attention to a subject that could become reality faster than you might think: nanotechnology in all its shades, biomechanics, artificial intelligence and the transfer of your consciousness into databases and “clouds” are topics on mastermind Aggreash’s agenda. This package is wrapped up tight in cold, sterile Black Metal, ruptured by electronic symphonic sounds. And this mixture goes really well with the motifs mentioned above.

The transformation of a human being, of a whole society into something artificial, something cold, really demands an almost clinic sound that is audible in the electronic, sometimes quite technoid parts as well as the furious blastbeats, with painful accuracy delivered by drummer Nefastus (ex-Belphegor, ex-Debauchery). Lyrics and music therefore form a close unity, form equals content. The other instruments take a step back behind the very prominent drums, and the extremely clear production supports the sterile sound. As said before, we are moving in the thematic fields of “Human 2.0” (or, as author Frederick Pohl has put it in 1978: Man +), created as an effect of the technological singularity (i.e. the point in time where artificial intelligence will have progressed to a greater-than-human-intelligence and therefore radically changing our world). The human body is transcended in every way possible here (“Evolution”), mortality is no longer an option in this process (“The New Era Of Immortality”), all signs of decay (physical and psychological) are immediately blocked by the nanobots in our cells.

Individuality? Negative. Emotions and all these other „sick“ things are suppressed a priori by the system. The connection between man and Lyfthrasyr - Band2 - WEB LARGEmachine creates a new species, revolution is not possible in this perfect system. And yet there is something left behind in the biomechanical synapses, just out of reach for the nanobots; a small rest of the conscious and individual mind (“Preserved Identity”), that whispers to us, reminds us that life this is an abomination. But this is not a ray of hope: living in the data-super-cloud is endless, and so is the pain of the soul that is not uploaded and has to stay back in the nano-vortex where it suffers measureless pain. Life as we know it does not exist in Lyfthrasyrs grim future, and what’s left are senseless commands, screamed at a body that has ceased to exist a long time ago (“Life Overdose”). This is the price you pay for immortality: a bodiless mind, trapped in the system, the cloud, the Matrix.

Lyfthrasyr have always been musically adventurous, and The Engineered Flesh strongly benefits of that. This album sounds just like the big, mean brother of the Deathstars, and Lyfthrasyr go much, much further that their tame colleagues with their post-modern version of Black Metal. Those of you who aren’t afraid of a band that constantly pushes the boundaries of the genre and doesn’t stop at nothing, not even using synthies, should really listen into Lyfthrasyrs latest album. Above all, what they got me with was their sterile sound, right out of the gene-lab, a stylistic device I’ve seldom seen brought to perfection like this.

The Engineered Flesh - 60%

Depersonalizationilosophy, December 22nd, 2013

This was a novel and interesting album. The musical tendencies do vary but most of what you’ll hear will be blackened death with a twist of electronic music. Surprisingly, the mixture is done fairly well and leaves a slight tinge in your mouth. Although the novelty is tasty, overall it does come a little bland. No worries as I thought “The Engineered Flesh” worthy of replay and a fun album to listen to when you’re not too serious about your ambient surroundings. Sound-wise they are similar to Dethklok combined with some generic gothic metal. The goth influences are apparent and therefore due to its direction Cradle of Filth popped into my head. Now the latter is a band that receives strong criticism. So if you can’t stand them then I suggest you don’t go into this expecting much. Like Cradle of Filth, Lyfthrasyr does play a couple of mainstream riffs but the ratio is a lot lower so there is that. Lyfthrasyr also use orchestrations but aren’t overbearingly present.

I’ve heard of Lyfthrasyr before as a recommendation from an acquaintance but I don’t remember them applying these electronic-styled compositions. You have to give them credit as it is a nice deviation from the experimental side of things. I did enjoy myself but it comes flawed and stripped down. The impressive instilled awe is now turned to catchy adulation. Which isn’t bad by any means but still it is a step down.

The drums package the album quite tightly. In other words, giving it the microscopic bit of grandeur “The Engineered Flesh” does convey. Fleshing it out are the guitars which are the stronghold the catchiness comes from. And somehow the vocalist is able to pierce time to psychologically slow down the album with his massive voice. It might sound like praise (or maybe not) but in fact the vocalist is sort of plain but his voice is so huge that it does feel like the sound is slowing down a bit. I do recommend “The Engineered Flesh” to those who want something different or an unexpected detour to get you fired up. Take it from me; I’m a serious guy most of the time but the electronic parts got me bobbing my head in an Egyptian-type manner.

Originally written for www.metal-temple.com

The Engineered Flesh - 50%

pfm, December 22nd, 2013

I have heard some of Lyfthrasyr's earlier work and was looking forward to see what they came out with for their third full length album, but I was not prepared for the soulless industrial/electronic blackish metal onslaught they have served up. Some of the symphonic and melodic elements remain, however they have largely been replaced by something approaching techno. Of course, The Engineered Flesh is a concept album with every track touching one aspect or another of man merging with machine, so an industrial approach might have seemed appropriate, and to be fair there are things to like about this release.

Aggreash has an excellent set of vocal chords and for the most part uses them well throughout the album. His bilious growls are the highlight of the release, except on Preserved Identity which is annoyingly sung three syllables at a time and contains dubstep-like wobbles. The lyrical content is quite interesting, telling the story of mankind's quest for perfection through technology applied to life. "Our soul is lost the moment we die / but on nanotechnology we rely / the cells are renewed diseases are fought / eternity is a desirable thought." Pretty cool stuff.

Nefastus' drumming must be mentioned as it is a good example of where this album goes wrong. Technically sound, this guy hammers out ferocious blast beats left right and centre. However his overproduced and polished approach feels mechanical and lifeless. Which again, fits with the theme of the record but isn't very enjoyable to listen to. As a general rule, metal needs emotion to be successful. There are of course plenty of exceptions, but this album is not one of them. It isn't until the final track that we get our first taste emotion, as we hear about a man who accepted the 'upgrades' and modifications outlined in the rest of the CD. They have not gone well for him, his mind works and he cannot die but his body is unresponsive and he struggles for mobility.

As of this release, I don't think we can call Lyfthrasyr a black metal band anymore. Which is fine, I'm all for progress and experimentation but by nature experiments aren't always a success. Which is not to say that The Engineered Flesh is a failure as an album, I'm sure it will find an audience that appreciates it. It's just that many of these tunes sound like they would get regular play in any of those 'metal' clubs that somehow manage to be filled with cybergoths in lieu of actual metalheads. I will be interested to see where they go from here; whether this was a one off or a permanent style change, and if so whether their next album is a bit less sterile.