Lost Life – The Cur(s) e of Karma

lost_life_cureIn the midst of this ‘in one ear and out the other’ age of Too Much Music, its the small things that can make all the difference for a black metal band. Germany’s Lost Life sharpens the finer, more minute points of BM’s tenets to, well, a ‘brighter’ sound that doesn’t annoy ears typically prefering a filthier production. On The Cur(s) e of Karma, Lost Life begin this process by fully utilizing the substantial prowess of drummer Grond, employing tempos ranging from slow to grindcore-fast that move the music along without ever leaving the compositions feeling contrived. In conjunction with the rhythyms set down by an actual flesh-and-blood BM drummer (!), the guitars of Nephesus run the gamut as well; slow and ethereal, even defiantly melodic at times, then old-school punk string-scraping the next. But what stands out the most to me are Grond and Nephesus’ employment of classic metal/Viking-era Bathory marches, complemented with riffs that are only slightly dissonant. This writing choice not only ensures the album’s movements remain ever ‘black’, but also that its obvious nods to the old gods will be recognized and appreciated. Of course, melody, punk, and Bathory are prerequisites for much of black metal, but Lost Life impart a German-engineered precision to their songcraft that lifts the bulk of The Cur(s) e of Karma above the promo pile.

The best moments of the album come midway. On ‘Ethereal Revelation’, an Telecaster-ish guitar tone rings out and welcomes you to a majestic stomp that defies the typical black metal posturing. The staccato feel of the performance grants the song a very brief, warped, classic-country character, threatening to transcend the band’s chosen genre tag. ‘Erratic Soul’ arrives with the aforementioned latter-era Quorthon in tow, but again, the bite of that Telecaster-like tone elevates the track beyond homage. We even get a good dose of Nephesus’ pitch-singing, which, while far from world-building, succeeds in assigning The Cur(s) e of Karma yet another shade of originality, recalling post-punk vocalists of the past just before returning to his adroitly executed shrill alongside a gigantic, octave-chord riff exploding at the track’s climax.

The throwback-titled Celtic Frost-fest ‘Unleash the Beast’ closes the album, with a truckload of smile-inducing familiarity, and now I realize that, oddly-enough, The Cur(s) e of Karma has left me in a fine mood. I’m sure that wasn’t Lost Life’s intent, but doing so, to this writer, remains an accomplishment over potentially boring the listener to death. Let’s just say my ungrim-grin says more about myself than it does The Cur(s) e of Karma, and that this band’s punk feel mixed with classic metal pacings and glossy, cleanly-picked riffage will likely win the non-kvlt BM-ers over. -Jim

Funeral Industries

~ by cliftonium on August 28, 2013.

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