For some weeks back in 2001 I think, I was really into the Norwegian trio Lengsel. I honestly can’t remember why, but it was probably the combination of their pretty name (meaning “Longing” in Norwegian), and their nationality. Either way, I heard a song from their debut album, quite uninteresting and off-putting, and the subsequent cancelling of the band made me forget about them. Until one day some weeks ago, when very surprisingly a package from German label Whirlwind arrived in the mail, containing among other the brand new album from recently reunited Lengsel. (Thanks Tobias @ Whirlwind Records!)
The label labels “The Kiss The Hope” as “garage metal”, and to a certain degree this is a pretty decent pidgeon-holeing, at least concerning the sound of it. It’s rusty and noisy, very metallic but not in a distorted way but rather a pissed-off yet melancholy rocky way. Musically “The Kiss…” is far more diverse than one specific genre-tag would ever allow. The opener is an eight-minute long epic piece of post-Neurosis/Isis metal, a monotonous and monumental cascade of emotions setting the standard of the rest of the album… The next track explodes in an outburst of furious post-black metal madness, like a chaotic mix of Ved Buens Ende’s and Ephel Duath’s harsher moments – especially the screamer of the band reminds me of Ephel’s Luciano – but still keeping the sadness and hope(lessness) of the opener. The album goes on like this, jumping between the harsh epic post-everything sound and the blasting bursts of jazzy Norwegian chaos. Whether they serve us some dark cinematic jazz in the vein of Angelo Badalamenti or the postpunk mood of early The Cure, it keeps to the same basic emotional structure. I enjoy the dysrhythmic dissonant parts a lot (Dillinger, someone?), but this albums stronger elements lie in the simpler rockier movements, which is where Lengsel really get ahead of the pack.
It is however easy to get lost in this depressive labyrinth, at lengths the different tracks become hard to tell apart, but maybe it just need some more digestion – there are many things going on here and I have probably missed about 30-35% of it. “The Kiss…” is definitely a strong album and I am glad it was sent to me, but would I buy it? Probably no. There is something missing, despite my aforementioned praises. Some kind of… edge. Because even if it is chaotic and sad and all, it is a bit to nice. And the absence of printed lyrics (except one) doesn’t do Lengsel any justice, since they obviously have a lot to say. But if you’re into something new and unpredictable with great and compelling artwork that probably could have been released by HydraHead some years ago, you will enjoy this. Just give it more time than I have (yet).
(As you probably can tell from my words, I am quite ambivalent concerning this album. I will keep on listening, carefully, and update this review in half a year or so, whether or not “The Kiss The Hope” will grow on me.)
1. An Anonymous Phone-call And A Dead Line
2. Hell Calls Hell
3. Miss S.C.
4. Ådendød – The Easy Kill
5. Tales Of Lost Love
6. A Little Less To Heal
7. Eternal Seven
8. The Warm Water Chaseway
9. Angels In America
10. The Pale People
11. Avec Toi