LIVLØS – And Then There Were None

LIVLØS – And Then There Were None

One of the best things to happen to a reviewer is discovering an excellent band or an album previously unheard of. Such is the case with the Danish melodic death metallers, Livløs (Danish: lifeloss) and their second, after the independently released "Into Beyond"²⁰¹⁸, album, mysteriously and epicly titled "And Then There Were None", which, as you can tell by the score, I find an excellent release, full of catchy riffing and captivating melody with a cold, massive sound known from the works of All Shall Perish, for one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.

I don’t know how these guys, who as of 2018 are Niklas Lykke (vocals), guitarists Kenneth Breinbjerg and Franz Aleksander Posch, Søren Frambo (bass) and drummer Thomas Dannemand Jensen, eluded my attention for so long. They ride at once a familar territory: a very All Shall Perish-like melodic base showing their love for hardcore while drawing comparisons to God Forbid and Machine Head in terms of songwriting and fabulous atmosphere of utter desolation with even a few flirtations with black metal, while also turning out quite original in the process. Especially the songwriting is simply marvelous, nuanced, detailed and multimelodic without for a second losing its utter cold heaviness.

Already the title track puts their abilities and skills on full display even if their very close resemblance to the way All Shall Perish does business on "The Price Of Existence"²⁰⁰⁶ and "Awaken The Dreamers"²⁰⁰⁹ may seem grating at first, but, since those two are one of my favorite records, that does not apply to me. Besides, the following "Serpentine Supremacy", a faster and groovier track draws more comparisons to Darkest Hour while showing that Livløs is far from being a one trick pony, whereas they return to the doomy slow and morose on the sprawling Morbid Angelic "Mortal Severance", the album’s first masterpiece. In the second of that sort, the favorite "Gallows" God Forbidian drive rides the mood and structures of early Machine Head while heavily saturated with a black metal speed and climate for a perfect, smartly paced and varied, composition, with the closing "The Purest Black" simultaneously in the same vein and different while also lightly stepping into the classic Mastodon territory. I should also mention "Drenched in Turmoil" for the way it surprisingly moves away from All Shall Perishism into more of a classic melodeath territory.

The rest of the tracks each have their own earworms and things to get excited about but, while it is hard to do so at first, one can find flaws. For example, "Pallbearer" is where Livløs gets too close to All Shall Perish in the way of meandering without a clear purpose while not justifying it with sufficient melody, twists and turns, as was often the case on "This Is The End"²⁰¹¹. Or take "Seize The Night", on the contrary, not very All Shall Perishian but somehow lacking something I can’t quite put my finger on. Now, both tracks are still very good and you will definitely enjoy them but they could have been even better and that is really my only gripe, which, when you look at the truly fantastic album cover, is almost negligible.

As stated above, Livløs really surprised me, a band this good barely on their second album, one which gets better and better with every application, so you can surely bet I will be watching these guys closely from here on. This one comes highly recommended if you like any of the references (especially All Shall Perish) but also for the way they can both sound so familiar and yet so uniquelly fantastic not unlike Machine Head did on "Burn My Eyes" and, for that reason, "And There Were None" (released on October 22nd) will definitely find its way somewhere in the top tiers of my end year best list.