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THE LURKING FEAR Death, Madness, Horror, Decay

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 @ 10:29 AM


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THE LURKING FEAR
Death, Madness, Horror, Decay

Century Media Records




Like many similarly minded side-band projects of late – GRAND CADAVER and LOCK UP are a couple more recent examples - I suppose we have COVID to thank for a new album from Swedish all-stars THE LURKING FEAR. Without the usual touring rigors of their “day job” bands, the quintet – featuring three members of AT THE GATES in frontman Tomas Lindberg Redant (also of LOCK UP), guitarist Jonas Stålhammar and drummer Adrian Erlandsson, and SKITSYSTEM guitarists Fredrik Wallenberg and Andreas Axelson (who plays bass here) – was able to carve out time to regroup and pick up where it left off with the 2017 debut Out Of The Voiceless Grave.

And that means another savage round of old school Swedish death metal meets H.P. Lovecraft with Death, Madness, Horror, Decay, which delivers equal parts buzz-sawing rabble and bulldog tenacity, flavored by the mystery and primordial dread inherent in Lovecraft’s writings. Despite some atmospheric flourishes, especially to get things started on “Abyssal Slime”, THE LURKING FEAR echoes early ENTOMBED, GRAVE or DISMEMBER much more so than the progressive melo-death of post-reunion AT THE GATES.

The band strips things down, revs things up and plays with utter ferocity much of the way through, especially on the breathless, d-beat powered “Death Reborn”, which clocks in an uber-compact, grindcore-like 1:10. The rest of the tunes aren’t quite so terse and sub-nosed, averaging a still tidy three minutes each. But there is little in the way of frivolity and any accommodation for the aforementioned atmosphere is generally brief, allowing for a reload before letting loose again.

“Funeral Abyss” is one notable exception, with its eerie doominess maintained throughout after the relentless opening salvo of “Abyssal Slime”, "Death Reborn” and “Cosmic Macabre”. Another, oddly enough, is the album’s second shortest track, the forboding, clangorous 1:36-long “Kaleidoscopic Mutations” that features the tormented multi-tracked growls and shrieks of AUTOPSY’s Chris Reifert. It again comes after an ever-more-intense trifecta of the title track, “Architects Of Madness” and the galloping “In A Thousand Horrors Crowned” with its crafty guitar harmonies and segues into “Ageless Evil” where it’s off to the races again.

That cycle seems destined to repeat to close things out as the finale “Leech Of The Aeons” lumbers to a start in a wash of creepy vintage horror film organ to follow the black metal-splashed “One In Flesh” and the bulldozing “Restless Death”. But “Aeons” quickly roars to life and while it is the longest – at 5:17 - and most involved track here, it still crunches along mightily and makes for an emphatic end.

Bonus editions offer covers of “The Curse” from SLAUGHTER – the long-defunct Canadian thrash band, not the still-active American hair band – and “Seance” from POSSESSED. Both make for fitting additions with their grinding simplicity, Satan-conjuring lyrics and relative brevity, and are delivered with a gritty gusto here that gives the originals some added oomph.

And that is true of Death, Madness, Horror, Decay as a whole. THE LURKING FEAR nicely captures the raw energy and immediacy of primal Swedish death metal while adding a bit flair with the Lovecraftian spin and channeling through the seasoned chops of a group of wily veterans. The “super group” was able to make the most of a shitty pandemic situation and has cranked out something that sounds both effortless and inspired, making for a genuinely super effort.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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