Album: Night Intruder
Genre: Deathgrind – Death Metal – Grindcore
Release Date: 14th of February, 2020
Released via Black Omega Recordings (Vinyl)
Lower Class Kids Records (MC)
Cover Artwork © Lifetaker, 2020
It was about a year ago when several members of the Team TMB went to a Cult Leader gig at the Trompete in Bochum – predominantly because of Cult Leader. Just a few days before the gig I listened into the latest releases both of Coilguns and Lifetaker, who were planned to be the support. Honestly – I was not able to connect a lot with Coilguns for whatever reason why (although the live show was enjoyable). Apart from that, though, I was blasted away by the Thanatos EP Lifetaker had released a year before and was all hyped up to see if those guys from the Ruhr Area were able to convey the energy that was hearable on the EP live as well – and they were. When the set was finished, I immediately snitched one of those Thanatos tapes and talked to some of the members – who explained to me that they were already in the works of a new album that was planned. At the end of 2019, Lifetaker announced the news that their debut album Night Intruder was going to be released in February 2020 – and here we are.
Lifetaker is a 5-member Deathgrind outfit coming from the Ruhr Area with members that might be a name to some who experienced the underground Metal and Hardcore scene around here – consisting of members coming from bands such as The Sovereign, Mossat or Wolves Carry My Name. The first EP Thanatos – mentioned above – was released in 2018 – showcasing a massive combination of Death Metal tone and the speed of Grind, filled with Punk energy – triggering massive expectations concerning the first full-length release.
The opening track “Pestkult”, which was also the first single to announce the album, begins with a noisey frame and an eerie melody only to slowly work towards a break and burst right into the grinding sound Thanatos already shined it – and immediately makes use of a huge amount of aspects showcasing the finesse of the entire album. On the one hand, the pressure that is created on this track is already massive and also the most blatant Lifetaker trademark – only possibly comparable to the on-point speed Wormrot made use of on their latest release Voices. Apart from that, the alteration between guitar embellisments during the drum fills and dissonant chords add up a massive character to the sound.
What is then to follow is a progression through tracks all making use of the most positive aspects of many different genres or sounds. Lifetaker is able to isolate the most important elements of distinct sounds and to easily insert them into their very own individual tone. The second track “Colony” takes up the Grind sound as heard before and speeds it up a little more – only to end up in a slowdown moment where the rhythm and noisey framework steps into the forefront again. “Catacomb Winds” opens up with quite a melodious intro – then bursting into frantic Grindcore again and adding up subtle melodies in the background or during the fills – eventually to slow down the speed and replay the intro riff on half speed – I can imagine entire stages being torn apart during these few seconds. The fourth track “Cold War” begins with a groovy drum intro and continues in absolute slow heaviness, showing that Lifetaker is able not only to play a heavy sound when bursting into powerful speed.
I was absolutely surprised when the fifth track “Loverope” opened up, because at this point the quintet from the Ruhr Area showed that they are also capable of easily stepping into a Black Metal frame when both guitars and vocals fully immerse into that specific tone – later on reconnecting it to their personal sound and then switching back into that Black Metal tone again – damn! On “Liturgy” and “First Woe”the heaviness changes a little from sped-up Grindcore sound to the downtempo dissonant Industrial burst that only recently gained massive attention with bands such as Jesus Piece or Judiciary. The list goes on with similar additions of elements throughout the entire record. I am actually no fan of going through an album track by track – this is, though, the best way to emphasize the massive diversity this album comes up with.
Throughout the entire release, Lifetaker construct quite an eerie sound that perfectly fits to either the fast or slower sections of the tracks. There is a good balance between thrashing riffs and massive dissonant chords. At many points of the album, the listener feels as if just being at the wrong place – in a wrong situation – and I can imagine this is exactly what the sound is supposed to feel like – encountering the Night Intruder. The nuances and detailled melodies are an outstanding element of this release as well. Every section is used to subtlely add a melody broadening the sonic scope of the track – serving with an immense depth and finesse of songwriting.
There definitely is a step up when comparing to the predecessor Thanatos when taking a closer look at Konstantin‘s vocals. Although it was already possible to hear intense jumps between highs and lows on the EP, Night Intruder introduces an even wider vocal range. In my opinion, many artists within the heavier scope of genres rely on one certain style of shouts or growls and stick to it – whereas it is definitely possible to vary heavily even within these harder vocal styles – and this is also what we can hear on this release. Especially on “Cold War” the vocals emerge in a less guttural and rather shouted Hardcore version. On the aforementioned “Loverope,” the style of Black Metal vocals is also fully adapted and eventually on “Solipsist,” the vocal range again steps into the Hardcore side of music. This track also stands out sound-wise when compared to the rest of the album – might be an explanation to why it is a solipsist (someone who believes that existence only reaches as far as the personal perception). The high variation on this Extreme Metal album only adds another sphere to individualize the tracks on it.
Night Intruder combines two different ways of heaviness – on the one hand it makes use of the immense speed of Deathgrind combined with dissonant sounds in order to construct mere chaos. On the other hand, though, slowing it down on tracks such as “Liturgy” or the beginning of “Stigmata” opens up the neck-breaking heaviness of a mid-tempo Death Metal / Hardcore mixture. Jumping back and forth between those different spheres of heaviness increases the catchiness of the different songs – especially when several tracks within fully emerge in either of these atmospheres. Every single song on the album does not feel the same as the next – yet the album itself succeeds to enclose all of the tracks within one theme. This is a massive step up when comparing to the already quite awesome Thanatos and is in my opinion a perfect interplay with all of the aspects I look for when listening to extreme music.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
10 / 10
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist 2020.