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Here we have a new Swedish quintet, The Lurking Fear. A new band, but constituted by five renowned musicians from the scene - namely, Skitsystem's Fredrik Wallenberg and God Macabre's Jonas Stålhammar on guitars; Tormented/Disfear bassist Andreas Axelson; and At The Gates' Tomas Lindberg and Adrian Erlandsson on vocals and drums. Quite the lineup. Quite the expectations. And the five men certainly do not disappoint. Turning towards H.P. Lovecraft for literary inspiration, they've created an old school death beast that sounds as nostalgically exhilarating as it does refreshingly contemporary.

The previous attempt I encountered of a band trying to encapsulate the Lovecraftian essence through their music was Infinite Spectrum's 'Haunter of the Dark', which failed bigtime in its minimal attempts to marry concept with music. Lovecraftian lyrics sung over a cheesily twee and bouncy prog backing made it all sound like a modern day Spinal Tap/'Saucy Jack' kind of thing. No such crassness or mismatch here. Lindberg has stated that "The Lurking Fear were in fact very inspired and made the time to create something truly personal and also special." In this, they've succeeded.

Whether you consider death metal is the ideal sonic vehicle for expressing Lovecraft's tales will all depend on your affinity to metal extremity. For example, I can't envisage Lovecraft aficionados, who are casual music listeners, getting too excited about their beloved author's stories transformed in such a manner. But, for those of us Lovecraft admirers who are also partial to the extremes the metal genre has to offer, this provides a fantastic musical expression of his prose. Haunting and menacing atmospheres reign during some of the slower passages, which are offset nicely against the sections of unrelentingly aural brutality during the up-tempo pummelling of old school death heaviness. Blackened riffage through power chords, tremolo picked passages and unsettling discordant leads, together with Lindberg's unmistakably sinister growls, drive songs along with an unforgiving, oppressive sense of darkened despair. While the fantastical elements of Lovercraft's prose might not have been captured with any sense of efficacy, the horror and menace most certainly has.

The production and overall sound of 'Out of the Voiceless Grave' has a wonderful balance between the organic and the polished. It has a definite raw dynamic but this is conveyed through an accomplished production, with the latter having just enough polish so as not to compromise or abate the former. As such, The Lurking Fear's music has that old school feel, but with its feet firmly rooted in the twenty first century. Compositionally, I'd say the same. Well worth checking out. Now, how about tackling some Poe for album number two?
Century Media
Review by Mark Holmes
11th August 2017
1) Out of the Voiceless Grave
2) Vortex Spawn
3) The Starving Gods of Old; 4) The Infernal Dread
5) With Death Engraved in Their Bones
6) Upon Black Winds
7) Teeth of the Dark Plains
8) The Cold Jaws of Death
9) Tongued with Foul Flames
10) Winged Death
11) Tentacles of Blackened Horror
12) Beneath Menacing Sands
"...an old school death beast that sounds as nostalgically exhilarating as it does refreshingly contemporary."