Livercage – Strung Up And Left To Rot

Listening to this album immediately after you get done with ‘Impaled And Forgotten’ is a very strange experience. You could almost consider them sister pieces: ‘Impaled And Forgotten’ is longer, weirder, more chaotic and demented, whereas ‘Strung Up And Left To Rot’ is comparably quite conventional. That was the part that surprised me the most about this album: Livercage write actual songs? Or at least write songs that most humans would view as such? They have a bass? They can write MELODIES!?

Apparently so on all counts.

So the music here is a lot more definably metal than on the last LP. The production has improved considerable: the riffs are much less hazy and more defined, and the drum machine is consistently audible. The distorted vocals are still present, but they seem somewhat out of place with the considerably mellower music on this album. A lot of the chaos and insanity of ‘Impaled And Forgotten’ is missing from this, leaving it with a more gothic and less oppressive atmosphere. The structural integrity is much higher: the tracks are now logically pieced together as opposed to the slapdash paeans to global destruction of the previous release. The overall tempo has decreased, befitting the somewhat more melodic nature of these tracks. On that note, the leads here aren’t quite as meandering and atonal: they’re composed of notes instead of inarticulate sounds, and you can almost derive pleasure from them.

The biggest change is probably in the overall sense of musicality. There’s an actual groove to many of the songs here: ‘Exactly On The Last Two’ actually has a pretty headbanging center of gravity throughout. It’s the sort of thing that’s good on record, but would be awesome live. The riffs are solid, and not nearly as noisy and ripping as the ones on ‘Impaled And Forgotten’. There’s a lot of two-chord goregrind style riffs at work here, as well as some more complex death and black metal influenced ones. Is this as ‘black industrial’ as the last release? Not quite: this is clearly a heavy metal album, and its musical qualities are nowhere near as unforgiving and bitter towards the audience as on the last album. This comes at the cost of atmosphere: I don’t get nearly the sense of apocalyptic dread from this as I did on ‘Impaled And Forgotten’. Granted, apocalyptic dread isn’t usually a desired mood, but it’s the sort of thing I enjoy.

I don’t really like this as much as ‘Impaled And Forgotten’, to be frank. It’s not nearly as vicious and esoteric. It’s more coherent, certainly; there was more time spent on the writing and recording of this one, and it’s, as stated before, much more musical. But I like anti-musical every once in a while, and the previous release really got my blood flowing for such a style. For people like me, ‘Impaled And Forgotten’ is the clear victor. For everyone else in the world, this one is. I’d recommend the average metalhead give this one a listen, and if they want something a bit more fierce, to start working their way backward. This isn’t bad; it just gets overshadowed by the last one. It’s still sicker than most of what you’ll ever hear, though, so still give it a go.


~ by noktorn on September 18, 2007.

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