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Lifend: Inner Scars

Inner Scars is brutal yet delicate, coarse yet elegant, ugly yet pretty.

You'd better be able to handle your extreme death metal growling because it is brutal in this CD – the death is pure death, and grunts are shrieked with an evil, ghoulish intensity. But they are offset by Sara's rich, elegant female vocals, the clean male vocals and the occasional choruses of over-sampled Saras. The instrumentation is rooted in the standard rapid-fire double-bass and growling power-chords at the bottom, yet these are offset by elegant lead guitar work, and sax played over heavy, complex unpredictable dual-guitar riffs. There are passages with delicate piano or acoustic guitar over the standard distorted chord sequence. Listen for the accordion patch, and the flamenco guitar that feeds into a brutal death metal section. (Yes, there's a sax and an accordion in black metal!)

In 1999, Italian Lifend was formed from Haternal and Mourningstar and played covers of Moonspell, Dimmu Borgir, Edge of Sanity and Anathema before developing a sound of their own, and writing original material. And their own sound comes across as chaotic at first blush, but after several listens it settles into a pattern that makes sense.

In large measure, the beauty and the beast sub-genre of goth metal is defined by the juxtaposition of unlikely sonic neighbors –rough and smooth, heavy metal and classically influenced elegance. Inner Scars could stand some refinement in the musicianship and production departments, but you just gotta love the songwriting, the fresh ideas and the vibe on Lifend's debut CD.

Track Listing:
1. Innerscars (6:20)
2. Absence (7:23)
3. Blood-Red-Pain (6:04)
4. Shattering:Assurance (5:52)
5. In Darkness I Bleed (2:50)
6. Open Wound (5:34)
7. Memorie (6:24)
8. Spiral Dance (6:32)
9. Congedo (Outro) (1:50)

Added: April 18th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: Lifend's Web Site
Hits: 2386
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Lifend: Inner Scars
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-18 13:00:42
My Score:

Before writing their own songs, the members of Italy's Lifend used to play Moonspell and Edge of Sanity covers. Judging by that, they have come a long way since their inception in the late-90's. Now with three singers, one of whom is female, a strong rhythm duo, razor-sharp leads, and excellent melodies, Lifend has become an unexpected extreme metal band.

Inner Scar blends melodic death metal, with demonic death metal growling, clean male vocals, and lead singer Sara's angelic dirges. Their songs involve plenty of time changes, and always alternate between fierce double-bass, dual lead guitar attacks and gentle acoustic passages. Employing hypnotic synth lines on the title track, and enriching it with weird Egyptian scales, acoustic sections with Italian lyrics, and three-part vocal harmonies, this band is quite challenging in their songwriting. The three-part vocal harmony is rather unusual, given one of the singers shrieks his guts out, while the other two sing in their calm, clean vocals. Though it may seem like a strange idea, it works perfectly. On the next piece, things get even more diverse. "Absence" starts out as an Opethian acoustic piece, quickly taking on dual lead guitars, some classical arrangements, and even saxophone. An unorthodox synth sequencing soars above the arrangement climaxing with an explosive guitar solo. Quite impressive indeed.

Aside from its trip-hop electronic intro, "Blood-Red-Pain" bears a more noticeable similarity to the genre's Scandinavian reincarnations. From Dark Tranquillity-like guitars and vocals, the song suddenly betrays its roots and delves into a saxophone-driven acoustic folk cut featuring wonderful vocals and melodies from Sara (whose surname is not mentioned in the credits). Similarly, "Shattering Assurance" kicks in with Wolfheart era Moonspell, utilising sick tremelo picking, but in the blink of an eye, all of that is gone and we are offered a slick, sweet solo vocal performance. Then swelling electronics take the lead, guitars pick up pace, drums roll, and the bass rocks. Certainly an unusual combination, but as it predecessors, it works. The band's ear for slower tracks comes to light in the form of "In Darkness I Bleed", with great acoustic guitars and saxophones; while menacing kick drums and monstrous bass lines characterize the aggressive "Memorie", proving Lifend is capable of both rocking out and pulling at the heart strings.

Some people will inevitably consider this album to be too "out there", and they may have a point. But I personally think, rather than copy-catting the forerunners of the Gothenburg scene, why not blend new elements order to broaden the scope. This is what Lifend is doing and they do it well. And that's all that matters.



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