An enthralling and twisted heap of heavy metal
This debut album from Bergen’s (Norway) Lakei is a fascinating and volatile mass of hardcore, sludge-like death metal. I was completely sideswiped by the crushing weight of the production and the raw, primal severity of Lakei’s brand of apocalyptic metal. Suffice to say, I took an immediate liking to the Norwegians.
Presented on first name basis, Lakei is simply Øyvind (vocals, guitar), Arne (drums), Robert (guitar), and Jack (bass). But, that is about as nonchalant as Lakei gets. Konspirasjoner was produced by metal heavyweight Henrik Udd and mixed and mastered by none other than Swedish death metal legend Fredrik Nordström in Gothenburg’s renowned Studio Fredman. Konspirasjoner is a musical cauldron of devastation and seething antagonism.
After the morbid intro track ‘Domsavsigelse’, you get thrown facedown into the heap of thick riffs, corrosive vocals and heavy beats and blasts. ‘Sarkofag’ explodes like a haemorrhage; heaving with a sludge metal sound that’s perked up with a punk/hardcore energy. This is generally the formula that runs through the whole of Konspirasjoner with little tweaks and variations here and there which Lakei execute with incredibly catchy results. ‘Budbringer’, for example, has a very hardcore/punk feel to it with slightly cleaner backing vocals and elevated guitars. ‘Aldri Temmes’, in a similar fashion, eases back on the thick riffs and showcases crisper, more steely notes. The likes of ‘Despot’ and ‘Banesår’ are much slower numbers but churn, grind and groan with such debilitating force. The apocalyptic air resonates through the rusty steel carcass of sound that Lakei drags over their sea of bones and scorched earth.
But for all of Lakei’s audio savagery, there is also plenty of deftness within the twisted and aggravated melodic threads in their music and it is this balance which impresses me the most. ‘Ansikter’ is a tidal force of bludgeoning riffs, high voltage rhythm and potent melody. The title track ‘Konspirasjoner’ is perhaps the most dramatic of the songs but also one of the most aggravated and chaotic. The absolute desperation in Øyvind’s vocals and the surging of guitars is all held together by some superb drumming from Arne.
As the album draws to an end with the suitably titled ‘Lakei’, I muse over the fantastic album art created by Santiago Armengod whose politically motivated artwork, like Lakei’s music, provokes both anxiety and a captivating sense of upheaval.
(Indie Recordings/Riot! Entertainment)