Shortly before the release of the sophomore album of the Swedish Lifvsleda, a small teaser was released premiering the track ‘Lifvspänn’. On this, the band continued the path set out on their excellent debut ‘Det Besegrade Lifvet’ with their new partners in crime, the French label Norma Evangelium Diaboli. ‘Lifvspänn’ was the herald for the coming of ‘Sepulkral Dedikation’, released in April 2022.
As I already indicated in the review of the ‘Lifvspänn’ EP, on the second album the band opted for a slightly more transparent mix, trading in a touch of rawness for more clarity and balance. And this was a great move, as it allows for more nuance in the sound which further highlights a more creative and dynamic sound on ‘Sepulkral Dedikation’ compared to the debut album. The base of the music is still very akin to Sorhin, Armagedda, the earlier Shining and the 90’s Swedish Black Metal scene, but the overall atmosphere is darker, even with a slightly clearer sound and arguably a touch more emphasis on subcutaneous melodies. Compared to the preceding ‘Det Besegrade Lifvet’ there is a bit more variation in pace, of which the at times grooving and choking ‘Djefvulen’ and ‘Evigheten’ are excellent examples. It’s here, or in another standout track like ‘Likbålet, that subtle variations in pace, additions of melodies, a solo and background atmospheric keyboards are delicately interwoven to a glorious extent. In line with a more dynamic and creative record, the vocals are taken another step further as well, with Nattfursth delivering his most passionate and diverse performance to date. And as good as the debut was, ‘Sepulkral Dedikation’ surpasses it in every single way. Songs like ‘Hädankallad’ and ‘Kallet’ are catchier, more melodic and melancholic, more captivating and more intense. On ‘Sepulkral Dedikation’, Lifvsleda have taken everything that was great about their previous work and made it even better. This is the sort of material that ends up on year lists, magnificent album!