Lik - Carnage - (8.5/10)
Published on August 13, 2018
Super groups are great. Super groups from Sweden are even better. With Katatonia on hold, Niklas Sandin has once again joined the dark side and teamed up with malevolent freethinkers guitarist Tomas Åkvik and drummer Chris Barkensjö—current and former members of acts like Witchery, Bloodbath, and Carnal Forge. Their band is Lik, their second album is Carnage, and they offer a high-powered and ferociously fun homage to classic Swedish death metal.
Akin to both pioneers (Entombed and Dismember) and relative newcomers (Entrails and Feral) alike, the Lik trio utilize the time-honored buzzsaw sound made famous by Sunlight Studio, incorporate a voluble and hard-hitting rhythm section, and then top it off with Bible-tearing vocals handled by both Åkvik and Barkensjö, although it seems the former takes the lion’s share. The album’s tone is evil yet campy, with the lyrics entirely over-the-top and very audible, producing many a smile when one follows along to bangers like “Embrace the End” and the ridiculously awesome album highlight, “The Deranged,” likely this year’s closest thing to Bloodbath’s “Eaten” in terms of implausible catchiness.
There’s no shortage of Swedeath practitioners out there, but Lik—meaning ‘corpse’ in Swedish—tick all of the right boxes on their latest effort and ultimately become one of a handful leading the current vanguard. Heavy, groovy, crunchy, skirting that death ‘n’ roll ridgeline without falling over, Carnage is a helplessly good time that’s backed by a huge production and, like your most prolific serial killer, a stratagem based on efficiency and sticking to one’s own strengths. There’s no pussyfooting here; Lik know what they want and they deliver it with bloody fucking aplomb.