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LLNN Translate the Ethereal Into the Corporeal

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Metal with groove: its gears mesh, its linkages shift, and its engine of existence chugs along… and there you are, face-to-face with the racket it makes. All that’s left to do is see how you move to it (if at all). Certainly, these sorts of physical reactions are not something you consciously think about about — the unaware bobbing of a knee even — but the messages which propagate them are encoded into the music, purposefully. Beat has the most to do with it, although there’s more to metal, and certainly post-metal, than beat. As far as your mind and body are concerned, they’re operating in a complex relationship affected by probably more inputs than they can handle — it’s music which brings both of them them synchrony and focus, and therefore pleasure.

Enter Danish quadruplet LLNN who are poised to release their louder-than-shit, heavier-than-hell, and decisively post-modern sophomore album Deads. Part suspense movie score, part post-metal experiment, part slam festival, and part electro-industrial sonicscape: Deads stretches the canvas as wide as your periphery will allow, and asks for maximum movement. Tracks like “Appeaser” urge forward with a persistent, nefarious intent; doom looms above waves of electronic noise which deliver their comeuppance via drop-tuned slams and bombastic grooves. LLNN take themselves seriously; this is an album obviously intended for thorough absorption and contemplation. Such an introspective approach may seem juxtapositional to the primitive, simplistic, body-moving might that the band gleefully wields. But despite any existential welcome mat, Deads is one sinister motherfucker.

There’s more: atmosphere via intense layering and high-end production. Deads, diamond-polished, relishes in its own multifacetedness: dancing, slamming, jamming. Quick shifts back-and-forth keeps toes pointed downward; ambient electronic asides act as transitions, masquerading as mental breathing room between the full-on assaults (they’re actually mood-generating moments which draw you further into the album’s dense, unforgiving aura). The album contains many moments of great triumph — e.g. “Deplete,” with its leads which culminate in almighty choruses backed by goliath walls of noise — but also ultimate defeat. Having your head hammered into the pavement would be one way to go: LLNN serve this up via slams that put most deathcore to shame.

Deads does not overextend its welcome. With such an acute approach, there’s the risk of abandoning the bigger picture. LLNN compensate for this by knowing when to turn down the volume and, though the use of silence and ambient electronic noise, how to generate a definitive headspace where the heavier parts of the music can roam freely. Obviously, nothing was spared in terms of drama. Each song on Deads satisfies its own little micro-narrative — each build-up always results in a satisfying culmination. Taken as a whole, they form a more complex, more intense storyline with a major climax during the final track “Deads,” a fitting place (and name) indeed. The sense that you’re listening to the score of a dystopian sci-fi horror flick is pervasive throughout, but does not distract from the music’s raw content.

As far as the tag “post-metal” goes, Deads seems to fit squarely without challenge. The chugs and slams might be deathcore-adjacent, but they’re executed through a decisively post-metal lens and frameworked amid significant layering. Also, the vocals share much in common with metalcore (and hardcore to an extent), and to their benefit: they’re not as over-performed as the music’s hyperbole could have allowed. Instead, they are blunt, unforgiving, and utterly cold. The human touch, here, is one of a desperate stranger — frightening, but itself scared. As the music churns, pounds, and tumbles along uncontrollably, we feel entirely swept up — physically, even — in its devastating madness, carried along on the throat of he who screams in utter pain.

Stream Deads in full via No Clean Singing. The album releases officially on April 27th.

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