Friday, June 3, 2011

Get Into: Livet Som Insats

Do you love the Swedish crust/grind sound, but wince at the growing number of shameless Nasum clones? Do you get tired of the formulaic alternation of d-beats and blasting, as though having an overt "hardcore influence" somehow spoke for itself and made the music inherently raw and powerful? Do you find yourself longing for a nastier, more visceral incarnation of Swedegrind?

If so, I strongly suggest checking out Livet Som Insats. They just released a free 6-track advance EP, streaming above (you dipshit), and are hoping to release the full-length soon. This is a sick set of tracks that points in a really cool direction. LSI's sound is distinctly Swedish but full of the things that so many bands running this style into the ground are lacking. It's not just "melodic" in the sense of including consonant, harmonized riffs...there are genuine hooks, like the epic slow riff that drops at 1:04 in "Der Kanslan." The production, while clear, is pretty ballsy by this scene's standards. Most important, the music isn't just fast and loud, it has a sense of crushing, warping physical power.

I want to geek out about the opening passage of the track "Tynstad," though, because it immediately got me excited about LSI. After a few opening strums, the track bursts into a speedy, headbanging section that will clearly lead us into the blasting we all came for. For a Nasum clone, there is no doubt that this would be a section of disposable Anti-Cimex worship--it's just the default choice. But LSI are smarter than that. They fill the same musical niche in a cooler, more interesting way. The riff is made up of continuous trem-picking rather than syncopated punk strumming, so it works more like early black metal. It's elegantly constructed, and this particular phrasing makes it stand out from other riffs with similar chord patterns.

What's most important, though, is the way this riff works with the drums. They're not playing a d-beat. Instead, they charge forwards in a Slayer beat or, if you must, a "polka beat." But the drummer is pushing it. He's straining the limits of the tempo in his headlong charge, and I think you can even hear a slight asymmetry in the times between snare and kick. It reminds me of 80s death metal bands like Kreator and Sadus, whose drummers thrashed so fast they verged on blasting. These frantic drums push against the guitars, and in that tension we get the effect known to scholars as GRIND.

By all that, what I mean is: LSI take what could be a de rigueur display of punk influence and turn it into something with real significance for their music. This isn't a mere set-up for blasting to come. Instead, these guys come out of the gate grinding. In fact, they are pretty much ALWAYS GRINDING in one way or another, and that's a good thing. We'll be keeping track of LSI, and you should do the same.

Make sure you're not standing near any delicate furniture while you're listening.

P.S. Thanks to the dope Swedish hardcore mag Lukinzine for turning me on to these guys!

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