Lifelover “Sjukdom” (2011)


I am rather peeved with Lifelover. First of all because when Kim Carlsson dances like a young self-mutilating Iggy Pop I get reminded of the old crone himself appearing topless on British telly advertising insurance as if he had never waved his cock in the face of innocent virgins all those years back, when he WAS avant-garde. Puke!… Secondly, because Lifelover seem not to mind at all pushing their albums with predictable marketing stunts: this time around the customary limited ed. glossy black boxset of “Sjukdom” (Sickness) is accompanied by supposed metaphors of our degenerated and shallow society: a razor blade (unoriginal), a piece of ripped cloth with the band’s logo (juvenile), barbed wire (useless), a set of blood splatter postcards (boring) and the questionable final piece: a syringe (phffft). Well it had to come didn’t it? Nachtmystium must have shipped their surplus over after they finished shooting their “Every Last Drop” video… And so be it: the life of an addict is far more hellish than any know-it-all rebellious teen buying the boxset can EVER imagine, so one has to trust that these kind of stunts don’t bear any other consequence than warning people away from that particular plague. Depressing stuff isn’t it? Now it’s time to actually PLAY Sjukdom…


I was expecting something in the lines of their latest release, the EP “Dekadens”, but “Sjukdom”’s opening track sounds ominously different right away. Yes, yes, the vocals are still a nightmare, but… everything is so minimal and bare: mixed in the usual unorthodox, unbalanced way, this is more stripped down and, as a result, even more psychotic than any other Lifelover song I’ve heard before. It goes well beyond being weird, disturbing and idiosyncratic: this album could not be more Lifelover, but it creates a world of its own, one that it is impossible not to be morbidly curious about.
I’m all ears, and by the time “Expandera” waltzes along I have totally surrendered to the very thing that initially repelled me… I AM IN LOVE! The grooves are so hooky you just don’t want them to stop: this is filthy, gyrating, perverted fuck music, and I bet they know it. Lifelover’s ingredients have been reselected and reduced like a good Norse fish broth; all they represent suddenly feels distilled to perfection. Catchy proto-punk-rock merges with minimal post-indie-rock, dragged along by the hair by spellbindingly slow, stark drumming and contorted, squealing, brooding vocals that defy any aesthetic sense and for that reason they very much belong to the barrier-crushing, extreme spirit of black metal. Add to the mix guitar riffs that ravage the moodiness of Britpop with razor-like mania, eeriness and full-on shots of pitch-black heaviness.

Lifelover’s new album simply rules by defiantly disregarding any common sense, unceremoniously kicking the precious ass of the avant-garde devotees who expect the unheard-of to be acceptable to their own parameters. Oddly enough, Sjukdom’s magic touch doesn’t come from the creepy and deranged samples, but from a disarmingly simple yet superbly effective trick: the repetitive sprinkles of their trademark, lullaby-like piano notes scattered all over the length of the album, which map a misanthropic path to lonely madness. The vocals, which have been a huge stumbling block for me in the past, are on this album scary but extremely varied (even sexy in the spoken parts of “Nedvaknande”); their strange, booming prominence over the stark mix is very striking and, in the end, it simply works… These guys are geniuses!

I reckon we are only just starting to see what Kim Carlsson is about. Somehow I am not surprised that he will release solo material in 2011 under the moniker of Horns Emerging, a project initiated with Audrey Sylvain of Amesoeurs fame (now no longer involved: the young lady must have been scared off haha!), which is meant to be focusing more on the spiritual realm, promising soulful cascades of melancholy… Well in “Sjukdom” Kim does actually “feel” more like a demonized, cursed ghostly presence than a blood-soaked pin-up for suggestible teens. And judging from his new promo pics, these days he even looks more like a grim Viking ghoul twice his actual age, so perhaps this album will mark a turning point for this very unusual and highly artistic Swedish band. Let’s face it, no-one sounds like them… and, quite ironically, they are highly addictive.

Say no to syringes and embrace Lifelover’s sweet, torturing, ugliness instead: Valentine’s Day suddenly makes sense…

-Mystery Flame


Release:  14th February 2011
Label:  Prophecy Productions
Avantgenre:  Extremely Ugly/Arty Experimental Metal
Duration:  56.10
Origin:  Sweden
Official site:
Review online since:  17.01.2011 / 21:56:45


1. Svart Galla
2. Led By Misfortune
3. Expandera
4. Homicidal Tendencies
5. Resignation
6. Doften Av Tomhet
7. Totus Anctus
8. Horans Hora
9. Bitterljuv Kakofoni
10. Becksvart Frustration
11. Nedvaknande
12. Instrumental Asylum
13. Utdrag
14. Karma

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