Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Liers in Wait - Spiritually Uncontrolled Art (1991)

Unfortunately this little gem went, for the most part, undiscovered at the time of its release and it wasn't until Black Mark re-released it in the late '90's that it began to garner a larger audience though I would hardly refer to its existence as being "well known". That's really a shame as this is one of the greatest musical releases to have been wrought from the icy depths of Sweden's prolific death metal scene.

To anyone who may not know, Liers in Wait boasts the talents of Kristian (Necrolord) Whalin and Christofer Johnsson of Therion. Whelan was of course axe-master of legendary Swedish act 'Grotesque' as well as having painted some of metal's finest album covers such as Emperor's 'In the Nightside Eclipse', At the Gates 'Slaughter of the Soul' and Dismember's 'Massive Killing Capacity' among many, many others. In fact, Whalin's skills as an artist perhaps outshine the fact that he is one hell of a guitarist as evidenced on this 5 track -ep-.

At some point Tomas Lindberg was the band's vocalist. Thank Odin that that didn't last long as the band turned to longtime comrade Christofer Johnsson to provide his (then) monstrous set of pipes to the proceedings. Personally, Johnsson has been one of my favorite vocalists since hearing him on Therion's 'Of Darkness' way back in 1991. Upon listening to this I immediately recognized his voice and knew right then that this was going to be a special piece of music, dear to my blackened heart.

Back to Whalin... I cannot give this Man enough praise as I would even go so far as to say that he gives Trey from Morbid Angel a run for his pesos here in regards to his anfractuous layout and overall command. His serpentine and endless exploration of the fretboard is a thing of marvel. Though there are only 5 songs here (one of them being a rather short instrumental at that), Whalin does more here than most do in their entire careers. Oddly enough, the amount of riffs flying at you never get to the point of overkill. Almost, but they manage to somehow stay stuck in your mind once the beating has stopped unlike many "tech-death" bands out there. Also, these riffs come dripping with venom. Its basically a barrage of supremely evil death/thrash riffs in the vein of Slayer and early Deicide and of course Altars-era Morbid Angel. Take those riffs and soak them in blood and then set the whole thing on fire and voila... I give you Liers in Wait!

Again, it's such a shame that this still remains to this day a rather obscure offering as the riffing here easily blows away many of the more "well-known" acts. Some of the drumming can get a little sloppy at times as if the sheer velocity of Whalin's rhythmic assault was too much for him to handle. I can totally understand this, especially considering that these songs were written, for the most part, in 1990 when most drummers were still at the feeling out process of the blast-beat ridden style that we know so well today.

Lastly, I have to give an immense amount of credit to the band for choosing a different route as opposed to the then popular Skogsberg/Sunlight direction that most young Swedes were travelling. Amidst a veritable sea of Graves, Entombed's, Carnage's and Dimember's, Liers in Wait certainly stood out and hopefully one day this band will receive their due.

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