Lik – “Misanthropic Breed” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow, Lik have released a total killer this time! Revelling in Boss HM-2 Swe-death comes this bloodbath of 11 monster tracks that bring back all the death and glory of Dismember, Entombed and Grave. Formed in 2014, Lik, whose name translates from Swedish as ‘corpse’, have already released 2 prior full-length albums that already turned a few heads, but on “Misanthropic Breed” the quartet have gone for total decapitation! Something of an underground super group made up of vocalist / guitarist Tomas Åkvik (Bloodbath, Katatonia etc), guitarist Niklas Sandin (Bloodbath, Katatonia etc), bassist Joakim Antman (Diatonic, Overtorture, The Ugly) and drummer Chris Barkensjö (Witchery, Carnal Forge, Grave etc), the performances are ultra-tight and feed perfectly into the massive sound courtesy of producer Lawrence Mackrory (Obey Mastering). Recorded during lockdown, it’s pretty clear that the band took all their frustrations and pent up anger into delivering what must be their best album to date – and like I said, it’s an absolute stonker! Right from the ominous tones to ‘Funeral Anthem’ and Antman’s grim bass lines, the morbid melodies backed by thick Swe-death riffs from the twin execution swords of Åkvik and Sandin play merry heaven on your soul – until the death ‘n’ roll begins and then, you know where you’re heading down to….Following up with little abatement in its diddly dee mayhem, ‘Corrosive Survival’ twists and shifts unpredictably as Åkvik drawls morbidly while Barkensjö maintains his thundering beat assault along with plenty of drum rolls – superb. In many cases inspired by older Lik material, ‘Female Fatal To The Flesh’ is an evolved take on ‘The Deranged’ from “Carnage” mixed with ‘Skin Necrosis’ from “Mass Funeral Evocation”, and while being slower, is even thicker and more menacing in its brooding, predatory pace laced by dark melodies as it stalks you through Åkvik’s bestial roars. In total homage to Entombed and Dismember is ‘Morbid Fascination’, which is a complete death ‘n’ roller through its massive but ultra-catchy grooves as Åkvik’s throat raw drawls add to Barkensjö’s demolition drum rolls and ceaseless cymbal decimation. Pretty much ending in the nuclear detonation of ‘Faces Of Death’, every instrument is either screaming or cracking at the seams with more chopping Swe-death brutality hooking you in through that infamous Boss HM-2 sound along to old school melodies, even more drum rolls than you can count to match the relentless double kick pedalling, and Åkvik’s roar that could make a polar bear’s balls shrivel – yep, with no time for Christmas it’s body bags all the way around from Santa’s little helpers folks!