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Lifeless – Anhedonia

Lifeless
Anhedonia
by Gary Hernandez at 22 April 2021, 10:34 PM

LIFELESS is a Depressive Black Metal band originally out of Léon, Mexico where they started as a project in 2013. Through the natural dynamics of shifting lineups, the band has moved beyond regional boundaries and can now best be categorized as an international band with representation from Mexico, Columbia, and Italy. They released their first full-length album in 2015. On March 31, 2021 they released their second album, “Anhedonia,” on Germany’s Talheim Records.

The album is a hefty 71 minutes long, spanning eight tracks. Some tracks are as short as sub-four minutes, others north of sixteen. As with any good creative output, the duration of each composition seems more committed to the exploration of a theme than with commercial or production concerns. So, some nice artistic integrity there.

The term “anhedonia” is a clinical name which refers to a reduction in the motivation or ability to experience pleasure. And, indeed, the band has stated that the name of the album relates the nature of existence, “how it is reflected in each scar and how it makes us stay tied and suffocated to this reality. A lack of sensations leads us to describe the nature of the forest in which we lose ourselves when we try to drown every memory that hurts us second by second.”

The album itself was recorded over a three-year period: the music in two sessions in 2017 and 2018, the vocals in 2019, and the mixing and mastering in 2020. The band notes that the tracks describe “the situations through which each of the members has lived.” That authenticity pulses through the album like sadness ebbs through life — not full on, but in waves, in degrees, in variations of tone and texture. There are gorgeous moments of melancholic reflection as well as ferocious bouts of anger and fear. As you might imagine, there are a wide range of tempos and styles at work from atmospheric to brutal assault, but they all tie together in a dark but affirming narrative.

The album is bookended with two very atmospheric tracks, “Emp-ti-ness” and “Something Inside Me Dies.” The first helps establish the tone for the album and the last returns the listener back to relative stasis. Surprisingly, there is no instrumental interlude at the mid-point, which is itself a statement. Mid-album interludes often suggest a predesignated pathway, a directional signpost that says, “you’re almost done.” Anyone who has felt (unfelt) anhedonia, knows there are no waymakers in that place.

It’s difficult to select favorite tracks as they are all standout in their own way. Personally, I gravitated toward “Giving up Everything,” “Anhedonia,” and “Half-hearted.” The first two are the longest tracks of the album and thereby cover a lot of ground, musically and lyrically. “Half-hearted” provides more familiar ground of contagious riffs and choral harmonies. Oddly, I felt myself comforted by its measured anguish.

I will say I am not a huge fan of Depressive Black Metal, but good is good. This album was three years in the making. It is genuine, moving, and formidable. When you listen to “Anhedonia,” you not only hear it, you feel it. Ironic, that.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Emp-ti-ness
2.  Ashes of Hopes and Dreams
3.  Trapped in the Void
4.  Giving up Everything
5.  Anhedonia
6.  Half-hearted
7.  Time to Go Away from You
8.  Something Inside Me Dies
Lineup:
Hypothermia – Vocals, piano
Kjiel – Guitars, additional vocals
L. Nergot – Guitars, bass, drums
Record Label: Talheim Records
     


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