Deads, the new album by the Danish band LLNN, is a sonic super-weapon, one that operates on multiple levels, inflicting both psychic and physical trauma on a shattering scale. It fires the imagination on multiple levels as well, bringing to mind terrifying vistas of apocalyptic obliteration as well as unnerving diaphonous visions that gleam with astral light. Not surprisingly, given the vast scale of the music and its relentless intensity, the band have explained: “The overall album theme of Deads is about births and downfalls of civilizations in other worlds throughout the universe, from creation to final decay, the depletion of the host….”
Pelagic Records will release the album on April 27th, but we have a full stream of it for you today, preceded by some further thoughts about what LLNN have accomplished on this staggeringly powerful record.
In prosaic musical terms, LLNN combine ingredients from a multitude of traditions, most prominently from post-metal, hardcore, and sludge. Fans of Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, Celeste, Isis, Godflesh, The Body, Botch, Breach, His Hero Is Gone, Love Sex Machine, and Converge are asked to pay heed.
But prosaic terms don’t really capture the impact of the album experience, or the combination of contrasting sensations that produce it. At one level, it is titanically heavy, its pulverizing destructiveness translated through spine-jarring drumwork, concrete-crushing bass-lines, and tremendously brutal pneumatic riffing. On another level, it mercilessly builds tension, torquing the listener’s nerves with dissonant, boiling guitar leads and larynx-shredding, brain-incinerating vocals. On yet another level, it plunders the emotions through melodies that are frighteningly ominous, majestically brooding, and desolating in the magnitude of their sorrow.
The combination of these ingredients produces a fracturing impact, one that takes knives to your emotional well-being and treats your skeletal structure like a building marked for swift demolition. But there is another dimension to this remarkably dynamic music, created in large part thanks to Ketil Sejersen’s synth layers. As heartlessly punishing as the music is, it is also shrouded in a sense of alien mystery and chilling allure, providing sounds of gossamer lightness that contrast with all the crushing force.
To be absolutely clear, the light that shines from this music isn’t the warm glow of the sun. It’s more like the slivery, star-like reflections off the skin of a gigantic planet-destroyer that has suddenly appeared in our orbit, its unfathomable energies spooling up in preparation for a rain of destruction.
All these linked contrasts are continuously on display. “Parallels” marries exotic, slithering and swaying melody to bouts of stupefying, stop-start explosiveness. “Armada” ties together enormous jackhammering power and pitch-black gloom with a grief-stricken melody, accented by a shimmering ambient layer that provides a haunting contrast to the craggy bass notes and methodical snare crack beneath it. But whether you encounter the frenzied chaos and turbulent violence of “Deplete” or the gleaming reverberations and glorious soaring ambience that infiltrate the mountainous hammer blows of the title track, the songs are never less than riveting, and always mind-altering.
Deads was produced by Jacob Bredahl and mastered by Tue Madsen. It will be released on LP, CD, and digitally, and pre-orders are available now through the links below.
Our album stream is provided by a continuous YouTube clip, so we’ve included a track index.
1. Despots – 00:00:00
2. Parallels – 00:02:58
3. Armada – 00:08:37
4. Civilizations – 00:16:21
5. Appeaser – 00:18:49
6. Deplete – 00:24:15
7. Structures – 00:28:17
8. Deads – 00:30:54