Released: 2017, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Add one more band to Tomas Lindberg's extensive resumé. After having left one supergroup, Lock Up, to focus on the resurrected At The Gates, the prolific frontman of – at one time or another – Grotesque, The Crown, Disfear, Nightrage, Skitsystem, etc., now has formed another with a bunch of current and former bandmates.
The Lurking Fear includes At The Gates drummer Adrian Erlandsson, Skitsystem guitarist Fredrik Wallenberg, Bombs of Hades guitarist Jonas Stålhammar and Disfear bassist Andreas Axelson — and boasts the sort of old school Swed-deathy clamor one might expect of such a pedigree. The group's debut offers a mixed bag of frantic Lock Up-style grind (“Vortex Spawn,” “Teeth of the Dark Plains,” “The Starving Gods of Old”); gritty, vintage Entombed buzz-sawing (“Upon Black Winds”); and crunching, Crown-like death 'n roll (“With Death Engraved in Their Bone,” “Tongued With Foul Flames”), with some d-beat-powered crustiness strewn liberally about for good measure.
WhiIe it's certainly a familiar sound, it's played with vitriol and vigor as Erlandsson's clattering drums and Lindberg's typically feral wail lead the charge as Stålhammar and Wallenberg flail away along with them. There are a few clever, if subtle, twists amid the din – like the Azagthothian dive-bomb leadwork and the occasional black metally hue to some of the riffing, notably on “The Infernal Dread” and “The Cold Jaws of Death.”
But despite the H.P. Lovecraft connotations of the band's name and a lot of the lyrics, the eerie strings that lead off the album off or the haunting backing chorale on “Winged Death,” the band don't do much to play up the oddball horror angle here musically and waste an opportunity to give Voiceless some genuine atmosphere. Instead, they opt for brute force, and lose a bit in the translation. The gloomy “Beneath Menacing Sands” sends the album out with a bit of a thud as well.
That said, no one accuse The Lurking Fear of just mailing it in here. Never do they come across as going through the motions for old time's sake to cash in on nostalgia. Voiceless Grave bristles with intensity, even if it doesn't raise the hackles quite like it could have.