The Swedes in LLNN understand abuse, they understand depression, anxiety, fear, nausea, and pain. On Deads they have given voice to everything we lose, and every time we hurt, carving out a landscape with the listeners’ fingernails.
The newest full-length Deads is a continuation of the aggression-laced sadness that adorned their previous record Loss, and their split with Wovoka, Marks/Traces, where they forayed into sci-fi themed post-metal/post-hardcore. What the listener receives with Deads, however is a story where fury and despair can be found in equal measure. Album-opener Parallels opens with a riff truly borne of the asylum, with its staccato punches, pushing you up against a wall, beating you again and again, and then leaving you alone in the dark to lick your own wounds.
The muddy noisy guitar tone laced with a heavy bass low end are a heady mix. It is angry, menacing, and yet make you feel uneasy; each drum hit feels like a sledgehammer, and the vocals gnaw at your consciousness. Everything LLNN needs to truly envelope you in a nightmare in its rawest form. However, LLNN understands all to well that hurt is not only blood and thunder, but also loneliness and abject dejection. Interludes like Civilizations and Appeaser are different beasts, where the keyboards, bass, and drums show you your bleakest reflection.
Deplete requires special mention, blasting off with a guitar riff that is the soundtrack of running up winding stair.It is so cruel and nauseating that it becomes captivating, especially when it reaches its fever-pitch, it becomes almost…. beautiful in how horrible it is. Deplete encapsulates what LLNN were trying to portray with Deads, and they have attained mastery at their brand of havoc, before dropping you off the cliff into Structures, which is hauntingly divine. If Hans Zimmer decided to write a score for a psychological horror film, he would be wise to borrow samples off Deads.
Album closer and title track Deads is almost the most musical off the record and is certainly the most crucial clocking in right around the seven-minute mark. Combining a hooky riff with a minimalist drone sounds so dense and claustrophobic that it almost feels like the walls are closing in. Deads closes out with a synth section so definitively hopeful that it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel will finally be reached, before you are snatched back. Despair is not punishing unless it is poisoned with a glimpse of happiness.
With their newest full-length record, Deads, LLNN have weaponized our deepest lows.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Favorite Tracks: Deplete, Deads, Civilizations.
LLNN – Deads / 8 Tracks / Pelagic Records