After their debut album ‘Loss’ released in 2016, as well as a split with WOVOKA from L.A. in 2017, the apocalyptic hardcore band LLNN from Copenhagen have now released ‘Deads’, their powerful, second full-length record.
Despots forms an aggressive start to the album, with furious, rhythmic screams that tie in well with the Hardcore groove of drums and guitar. The mysteriously howling guitars creeping up and down remind ever so slightly of Bölzer but most of all create a signature sound. The song continues straight-forward and without much fuss and the unique guitars in the background carry the weight of the entire song; the powerful instrumental work making it easy to imagine this song live.
Parallels show off an interesting sound with tribal drums and ghostly guitars, like paint watered down to bring it onto a canvas. Their sound seems like a logical development and variation of the guitars in the first tune. We stay with the drums in the foreground for a while until thrashing drums and screams set in together and pause again and again. This unusual part really challenges the listener (in a good way!) as it is not a song flowing as an easier-to-digest sound wall but rather an aural assault of fragments. At last, we quite smoothly move into more tribal beats, again accompanied by screaming and ambient sounds in the background.
The next song Armada creates a threatening soundscape characterised by extra furious screams, synths connecting all instruments with dimension-creating chords. The guitars keep the rhythm rolling together with the drums until they ease into a more dreamy motif. The ambient sounds make such a hypnotising and captivating symbiosis with all the other instruments that it was even hard to take notes while listening (if that is not a good sign, I don’t know what is). Towards the end, we get a few more heavy hits on the guitar, rolling with the rhythm of marching through a wasteland. At seven minutes, forty-three this tune is the longest on the record, but far from boring, as it has incredible trance-inducing live potential.
Civilisations follows as a short, similarly atmospheric and somewhat ambient piece, with subdued percussion accompanying the synths that becomes more aggressive towards the end, seemingly leading up to the next song Appeaser.
This one, however, starts off rather calm again, which is a bit surprising. We move into the tune with a droning bass in the foreground and synths eerily surfacing in the liquid sound. Then the vocals, dark guitars, and more energising drums set in furiously. The song continues alternating between these two musical counterparts, leading up to a bridge with just single drum beats and guitars hovering in the distance, enveloped by very subdued synths. At last, we get into a cool and more energetic motif again that showcases the unique guitar sound that was already established at the beginning of the record.
Deplete sets in with angry screams and rhythmically-nifty guitar riffs that somewhat run as an counter-pole against the drums. The interaction of all instruments is progressive and complex here, with the vocals always working well together with the drums. The riffs evoke an addictive uneasiness, making the listener wait for a closure; a relief, but instead, the tension stays high. Cool, groovy rhythms towards the end of the tune finally give a way to release this bittersweet tension.
Structures is a short ambient track again. Sounds like muffled hitting on metal – or maybe a church bell? – introduce this song. Synths produce a threatening air, whistling like autumnal winds piercing the streets. The tension rises with rhythmic pulses setting in and then we transition seamlessly into Deads.
The title track of the album stays in the same mood until drums and vocals set in aggressively, holding a largely quiet background. The bass amplifies the beat, and only shortly after a dark guitar riff sets in, allows a glimpse of recognition regarding the signature guitar sound of the beginning. Whereas the verse mostly relies on voice, drums and bass, the guitars of the chorus create an eruption of energy, working their way up to higher notes in the bridge where the unique howling sound is shown off once again. The symbiosis of brutally emotional chaos towards the end is at one point nerve-wreckingly interrupted by silence and a few drum beats, only to set in again with full force. Unfortunately, the record ends on synths that appear a little kitschy in comparison to the rest in their attempt to create a silver lining.
All in all, ‘Deads’ is an album with immense goosebump potential and is perfectly imaginable in a powerful live setting filled with tension and relief. Fans of bands like Oathbreaker or Amenra should definitely give this record a listen!
‘Deads’ is out now via Pelagic Records. Grab your copy HERE!