Dark, atmospheric, black and beautifully moving…
Review by Jason Guest
Release: 15 December 2015
Formed in 2012 by members of the French black and death metal scene, Lifestream’s debut album Post Ecstatic Experience first appeared on a limited run of 100 cassettes in April 2015. Thinking it best that the rest of the world should be given a chance to hear it, their record label Emanations (a sub-label of Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions) released it on CD on 15 December 2015. A wise decision, because rather than being the sole property of a bunch of bedroom dwelling black metal kvltists, this is an album that deserves a much wider audience.
Very much in the vein of black metal’s Norwegian originators, it’s dark and atmospheric and fuelled as much by blast beats, rampant riffing, and scathing vocal lines as it is melody and melancholy. An ambitious piece of work, Lifestream’s collective ability as a band that explores and exploits its many strengths manifests itself in nine diverse tracks. As the album proceeds, its depths emerge and its many layers unfold. The obligatory atmospheric intro to ‘Introspective Maze’ is suitably daunting, as is the blast beat-driven second half of the track, the menace and the murk that shatters the dark calm remaining with us until shadowy closer ‘Banshee’. While the tracks are driven by an almost uncontainable ire and illume a fiery unremitting atmospheric, when melody makes contact with these serrated foundations, the effect is remarkable.
With two tracks chiming in at over ten minutes – ‘Parasite Glory’ and ‘Two Faces’ – Lifestream take head on the challenge of what so many fall foul of. Instead of endlessly repeating “hypnotic” (read “dull”) passages or sticking riff after riff together for no other reason than they had them in their armoury, here the tracks evolve, Lifestream let the track guide the writing. With arrangements and structures that are tightly focussed, both tracks plot always interesting pathways and are testament to the band’s abilities as both writers and musicians. An accomplished album, there are few flaws. As art, it has many merits.
8 out of 10
- Introspective Maze
- An Unfathomable Dereliction
- Lifeless Solace
- Parasite Glory
- Celestial Scourge Subjugation
- Sad Thoughts Overdose
- Two Faces
- Beyond The Seventh Heaven