Three years after their first full-length record ‘Mass Funeral Evocation’ and a year after bringing out a split with Uncanny, a fresh new album from Stockholm’s LIK is on the market now, plainly and effectively titled ‘Carnage’.

To Kill starts off with unique guitar sound; it is a little blackened, piercing and slightly shrill. The riff is energetic and strikingly carries the entire tune, supported by clean but still organic angry drums. Tomas Åkvik‘s growling is slightly husky and convincingly angry. A sweet guitar and captivatingly chaotic trickling on the toms make a nice contrast that works out convincingly as the circle is closed by a forward-thrashing part similar to the beginning again.

Next up, To Rid You of Your Flesh starts off melodic and slightly epic – but before the listener gets a chance to feel romantic we move into hammering, shredding and extremely well-articulated growls; most of the lyrics are understandable straight away. The entire sound landscape appears very well produced and balanced. The guitar shines with a singing solo full of high notes and a bit of treble, soon moving into a very headbangable part at the end. Too bad the song ends on a somewhat awkward note

The beginning of Celebration of the Twisted reminds a bit of Rammstein; the quivering riffs have a good mix of melody, danceable rhythm and darkness. The vocals are fun, fast and groovy – but the excitement is not quite sustained. The guitar solo seems a bit unfitting and too short, squeezed into two more aggressive parts. This tune seems to work with different genre influences that might set up this single for a larger audience but they unfortunately seem a little all over the place.

Dr Duschanka instantly pushes forward with a simple tearing drum beat but the entire sound situation does not quite catch the ear as exactly unique. The vocals, however, boast with a full and plastic sound. We move from solo to solo a little awkwardly and the very last chord seems a bit uncertain, as if asking “how shall we end this song?”

The transition to Left to Die is convincing, though; a slow beginning and flickering high notes merge into a slightly doomy riff, with the increasingly polyphonic guitars showcasing a nice twang in the long notes. Slightly monotonous vocals paired with decreasing guitar groove makes everything sound very familiar, though. Luckily, the flickering notes come back in for a colourful solo guitar melody; but then it goes on as before, with a bit of headbanging potential, and an abrupt ending.

Well hello, there is certainly a nice drum situation at the beginning of Cannibalistic Infancy! It soon becomes more basic again but the tune shows melodic creativity. The fury of the vocals seems genuine – but the song is too short. After a captivating slowdown the listener would expect the tune to go on with a bit of breakdown and anger but it is simply over.

Death Cult does not quite manage to bring out particular uniqueness even though it’s a technically well-executed song; it sounds very similar to the foregoing material but at least there is a nice guitar solo and the bass comes out more, too.

The next song The Deranged is off to an interesting slow start with cymbal smashing, nifty rhythmic transition into a slow riff with waving sound motions. While the vocals are at first not quite titillating, a mysterious speaking voice joining in over ambient and screechingly high guitar sounds in the background in the middle of the tune. This would have perhaps been a good end point as an unstructured end at 5:40 minutes does not do this tune any favour.

Only Death Is Left Alive is again a bit too lengthy overall; the guitar solos are definitely the highlights of this one, showing off pleasantly unsettling distortion, and high melodies playing against the drum rhythm.

The slow powerful start of Embrace the End carries the slightest hint of Nu Metal vibes. Stingingly high guitar interludes seem to be a signature move of this album, and after a rather unsurprising verse the guitar produces a bit more twangy mystery, while the bass surfaces shortly but leaves the listener craving for more. Danceable guitar riff develop into chaos, bright guitar notes rise out of nothing up into the air, like quivering smoke; and then it’s all over, perhaps a little too abruptly.

Overall, LIK’s new album presents lots of creative potential amongst somewhat standard Death Metal elements; these ideas could have been explored more and would have benefitted from smoother transitions and more balanced lengths. The musical execution, however, is great, as is the sound, at least mostly. For enthusiastic fans of Scandinavian Death Metal, this album should definitely be a fun listen!