Swedish death metal is alive and well and the month of May certainly proves that with new releases from the legendary At The Gates (Watch for our review of that soon) along with our focus today which is LIK’s sophomore offering, Carnage, out on May 4th through Metal Blade Records.
The instant “To Kill”, the first track on this unrelenting beast of an album, begins similarities between old school Entombed are immediate but quickly dissipate when listeners realize that LIK is even more brutal and that vocalist Tomas Åkvik is even more intense than LG Petrov!
“Rid You of Your Flesh” starts off with these soaring guitar lines in the vein of many a Swedish Heavy Metal luminary but quickly becomes a whirlwind of ripping riffs as Åkvik spews off gems like “Cut your face up for fun/And wear it to a masquerade”. There’s an inherent sinister groove throughout “Celebration of the Twisted”, changing the hyper tempos only slightly, that is still unyielding even when slowed down. Slightly.
“Dr Duschanka” and it’s macabre story is broken apart by this beautiful guitar line and a horrific scream and is almost like a cousin to “Dead Skin Mask”. Heaviness aside, Åkvik’s storytelling prowess is easily a stand out on Carnage conjuring wicked imagery through every word uttered.
“Death Cult” is a banger to say the least with drummer Chris Barkensjö working overtime to keep a steady beat, at ludicrous speeds. Like The Atomic Clock even (That’s Gene Hoglan for all you non-metal fans out there), Barkensjö provides the backbone to the Lik sound with this herculean performance on each track. Switching between guitar and bass, Niklas “Nille” Sandin pulls double duty on Carnage and adds to the riff machine that fuels this track but also all across the album. And when his lumbering planet shaking bass lines peak out, like on “The Deranged”, just make sure you’re somewhere with a solid foundation!
Like all good things, Carnage must eventually come to an end but before the dirge of “Embrace the End” drives that point home, penultimate track “Only Death Is Left Alive” is your last chance to headbang as this most delicious slab of metal awesomeness concludes the speedier parts of LIK’s sophomore album just as intensely as it began. With scorching guitar solos and this riff-tastic hum during the breakdown, the track is everything that is great about LIK wrapped into this perfect three minute ball.
Carnage is out through Metal Blade Records on May 4th. Pre-orders can be ordered by clicking here or here. For the latest on LIK, head on over to their official social pages over on Facebook or Instagram.