by Cosmo Lee

The name Lifelover is probably ironic. Vocalist/guitarist Kim Carlsson has a project called Hypothermia which plays suicidal black metal, one of the few music genres that baffle me more and more over time. Why make music that’s deliberately pathetic? Can music so wrist-slitting even be called metal? (“Man up!” I want to tell Xasthur. “Get some sun!”) Why sing as if Grover were being skinned alive?

Mental Central Dialog

Carlsson keeps up his mopey Muppet schtick in Lifelover. Thankfully, other people balance him out, most notably “B,” of Dimhymn and Ondskapt. Dimhymn’s cut-and-paste tendencies crop up in Lifelover (I reviewed the Hypothermia/Dimhymn split here), as songs often drop into random bits of keyboards and found sounds. (One track ends with 45 seconds of what sounds like a German drinking song.)

Lifelover truly is some of the strangest music I’ve ever encountered. Konkurs (Avantgarde, 2008) is half black metal, half early Cure and Joy Division, and a splash of Coldcut cut-and-paste. The production is deliberately lo-fi, often reducing mighty metal riffs to a kind of shambolic, indie rock appeal. Yet gorgeous melodies and big hooks hang all over the place. I bet these guys are actually having fun.

Valkommen Till Pulvercity

Here is evidence: “Valkommen Till Pulvercity,” from last year’s Erotik. It’s a knee-slappingly, tambourine-shakingly loose jam, only with dark jewels of piano and a madman howling Swedish things above. Then, at 2:15, jaunty hand claps enter – I must make a mixtape of metal with hand claps – and the song lifts off into cute, astral, suicidal polka punk metal territory. I love life, and I love Lifelover.

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