Old-school Swedish death metal lives on in LiK’s ‘Mithanthropic Breed’ album – one of the best death metal albums of 2020 so says ZT’s Harvey Radford…
After releasing one of the albums of the year in 2020 with ‘Misanthropic Breed‘, ZT’s Harvey Radford had a quick chat to LiK drummer Chris Barkensjö to discuss the album and to look ahead to 2021.
ZT: ‘Misanthropic Breed’ was the third full-length album to be released by LiK back in September of last year, which for me personally was my favourite album of 2020. How has the reaction been towards the album from your perspective and have you achieved the goals you set out when the whole writing process began?
Chris: Thank you I’m happy you like it and the fact that it is your favourite of 2020 is amazing, thanks. The reactions have been great and so far I’d say it’s the most well received album by far. The only goal in general when writing a LiK album is that we ourselves feel that we are satisfied so that we can live with it, so to speak, but yeah it turned out great in every aspect.
ZT: You certainly have captured the pure old-school Swedish death metal sound on Misanthropic Breed but you have also made it sound very modern and new. Compared to Mass Funeral Evocation and Carnage, do you feel that Misanthropic Breed has the complete sound in every aspect?
Chris: It’s all on Lawrence (our producer and wizard) regarding the end result sound-wise and he wanted to make it the best so far in that sense. I think he should be proud. We are very satisfied with the end result. Personally, I like the way all three albums sound in their own way.
ZT: You end the album with an epic outro on the album closer ‘Becoming’ which has a resemblance to what you would expect to hear at the end of a classic Entombed album. To me it really is just the final masterstroke to an already all round masterpiece. Who came up with the outro and did you realise at the time just how perfect that closes the album out?
Chris: I totally agree and yes, we worked back and forth with that ending before entering the studio. Tomas wrote it and we both rehearsed it quite a bit before we felt that it fitted into the song. We felt early on that this is our Left Hand Path outro and at first it wasn’t meant for that song to be last on the album but I said that it has to be the ending track considering that epic, powerful ending and the guys agreed upon it so it turned out great.
ZT: Lik are heavily inspired by the old-school Swedish death metal days of Dismember and Entombed but what other genres or bands personally inspired you to get into metal?
Chris: For me personally it was Kiss, Slayer, Metallica, Twisted Sister, WASP, Iron Maiden and the list goes on. I get inspired by good music in general, it has always been like that for me. I can get ideas for riffs by watching a movie and the soundtrack is killer you know.
ZT: The lyrics for Misanthropic Breed have taken on an even darker more sinister edge to them. What were your intentions and thinking behind your ideas for the lyrics when writing the album?
I get my influences from dark and sinister sources which varies in what the subjects might be.
Chris: Simply just being more in that darkened mode so to speak. I wrote most of the lyrics this time and I get my influences from dark and sinister sources which varies in what the subjects might be. Tomas also writes lyrics and we often send lyrics back and forth to either finish them or continue on them if we get stuck sometimes. For example, we co-wrote the lyrics for the song ‘Wolves’ in the studio. It turned out great I must say.
ZT: The artwork for Misanthropic Breed is certainly eye-catching and keeps in theme with the old-school death metal vibe. Who came up with the ideas behind it and how did you chose which artist to use?
Chris: It’s the genius Mark Riddick. We use him for all our artwork. He has such a cool and wicked approach to death metal and he always comes up with best suitable artwork for our stuff.
ZT: Obviously with everything going on in the world you haven’t had the chance to take songs from the album on the road. Are there any tentative plans for a European tour at some point later this year?
Chris: We hope that we can start playing live again soon. Yes there are plans for the whole year since everything got postponed or cancelled for that matter, but nothing is certain in these times so we will see. I wish nothing more than to be able to play live again.
ZT: Will these times of quarantines and lockdowns mean that you will be laying down more ideas and demos for a new album sooner than what you might do normally? Not that LiK take long between albums anyway.
Chris: We have discussed different ideas how to approach the absence of live performances just to keep the band on the map so to speak. We might do a live stream or something of that sort. Time will tell right?
ZT: Lik are now three albums into their journey. Has that journey lived up to your expectations, what would you like to see happen with LiK moving into the future and what plans/ideas do you have in place?
Chris: Yes absolutely. It has been way over our expectations, so it’s all good I must say. I would like to see us touring/playing other parts of the world, but we are working on it….no rest for the wicked here. I mean right now we are first of all mostly eager to be able to play Misanthropic Breed for the masses. As I said before, time will tell.
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