There’s more science fiction in Black Metal! After the ingenious Vyre debut album The Initial Frontier Pt. 1 proved successfully that these two genres have some things in common, Karlsruhe-based Lyfthrasyrs third album The Engineered Flesh dives deep into the dark abyss of dystopian hard sf, creating a rather unsettling vision of our near future. Unlike their colleagues, Lyfthrasyr stay on solid ground, will say: on Earth, and give their attention to a subject that could become reality faster than you might think: nanotechnology in all its shades, biomechanics, artificial intelligence and the transfer of your consciousness into databases and “clouds” are topics on mastermind Aggreash’s agenda. This package is wrapped up tight in cold, sterile Black Metal, ruptured by electronic symphonic sounds. And this mixture goes really well with the motifs mentioned above.
The transformation of a human being, of a whole society into something artificial, something cold, really demands an almost clinic sound that is audible in the electronic, sometimes quite technoid parts as well as the furious blastbeats, with painful accuracy delivered by drummer Nefastus (ex-Belphegor, ex-Debauchery). Lyrics and music therefore form a close unity, form equals content. The other instruments take a step back behind the very prominent drums, and the extremely clear production supports the sterile sound. As said before, we are moving in the thematic fields of “Human 2.0” (or, as author Frederick Pohl has put it in 1978: Man +), created as an effect of the technological singularity (i.e. the point in time where artificial intelligence will have progressed to a greater-than-human-intelligence and therefore radically changing our world). The human body is transcended in every way possible here (“Evolution”), mortality is no longer an option in this process (“The New Era Of Immortality”), all signs of decay (physical and psychological) are immediately blocked by the nanobots in our cells.
Individuality? Negative. Emotions and all these other „sick“ things are suppressed a priori by the system. The connection between man and machine creates a new species, revolution is not possible in this perfect system. And yet there is something left behind in the biomechanical synapses, just out of reach for the nanobots; a small rest of the conscious and individual mind (“Preserved Identity”), that whispers to us, reminds us that life this is an abomination. But this is not a ray of hope: living in the data-super-cloud is endless, and so is the pain of the soul that is not uploaded and has to stay back in the nano-vortex where it suffers measureless pain. Life as we know it does not exist in Lyfthrasyrs grim future, and what’s left are senseless commands, screamed at a body that has ceased to exist a long time ago (“Life Overdose”). This is the price you pay for immortality: a bodiless mind, trapped in the system, the cloud, the Matrix.
Lyfthrasyr have always been musically adventurous, and The Engineered Flesh strongly benefits of that. This album sounds just like the big, mean brother of the Deathstars, and Lyfthrasyr go much, much further that their tame colleagues with their post-modern version of Black Metal. Those of you who aren’t afraid of a band that constantly pushes the boundaries of the genre and doesn’t stop at nothing, not even using synthies, should really listen into Lyfthrasyrs latest album. Above all, what they got me with was their sterile sound, right out of the gene-lab, a stylistic device I’ve seldom seen brought to perfection like this.
1. The New Era Of Immortality
2. Soul Transition Interface
3. Technological Singularity
5. Mind Simulator
6. Preserved Identity
7. Wisdom In The Loop
8. Life Overdose
Total running time: 41:08