Severe Illusion “No More Alive than You Deserve”: Viva Music Album Review

September 27, 2011 in Album Reviews

Tracklist: “Mockingbird” * “Try Harder” * “Clear Head” * “To the Wall” * “Nar helvetet kom till byn” * “Inside Your Narrow Little World” * “Them Unwitting” * “Rotating Knives, Yes” * “Cultural Identity +” * “And Them We Kill” * “Dirt

Prior to “No More Alive than You DeserveSevere Illusion released two digital singles, “Clear Head (Single Version)” (+) and “The End of Flowers” (+). | Other Severe Illusion news on Severe Illusion joins forces with CCP

Severe Illusion – “No More Alive than This”: Viva Music Review:

The very atmospheric album from Severe Illusion, “No More Alive than You Deserve” with Complete Control Productions astonishes in many ways, not unlike their previous discography. It is a very dense album, and very intuitively invested in by the two musicians who take part in the project. Unlike their previous releases, which are chronological, this release comprises material produced and performed between 2004 and 2011, that is more than half through the artists’ career. 

The fact that the album is a good listen becomes self-evident once you listen to the very captivating track that slashes through the fabric of beginning, “Mockingbird”. Borrowing from the title bird the ability to emulate everything one hears, the voice and instruments in the track seem to resonate one to another in a plausible and engaging manner. Set against the text intro that accompanies the album, “The Purpose of Community”, which, in itself, functions as a well-written manifesto about the values and ideals from which we separate and toward which we aspire in equal parts, “Mockingbird” escalates and keeps it steady in an elegant manner. Once the path is carved, Severe Illusion keep it short and narrow, but nonetheless effortlessly so. “Try Harder”, therefore, may not be ground-breaking, but it surely does explore sound in a very particular manner and the end result is one you cannot but take pleasure in. The density builds up with the incoming “Clear Head”, and it is not relinquished even when “To the Wall”, a Viva Music favorite, eloquently thrashes the notions anyone could hold in honor to the purpose of showing how frail, and to some extent, how misleading our quest for values may be. A very smooth tempo accompanies the song, and its panic-stricken core, at the same time powerful through the force given by fear, is a rough diamond that should be pursued musically in different guises as well.

Literally meaning “When Hell Came to the Village”, the ensuing track, “Nar helvetet kom till byn”, the only album track with lyrics in Swedish from this album, is a good turn of the plot. If so far the notion of discontent was rendered musically through the darker corners of EBM, the EBM by the book of “Nar helvetet kom till byn” is surely in the deal in order to please everyone. It is not then, so unusual to slip in a track in a language other than the album language (be it, the language of the artists) – it sounds even deeper in intonation, and more contriving. It is nonetheless a solid gold track and a pretty amazing listen! And after the strong raid produced by “Inside Your Narrow Little World” and “Them Unwitting”, both superb and topnotch productions, it is high time for the oddly titled “Rotating Knives, Yes” to kick in. Harsh but inviting, it brings to mind the image of a paper shredder the confirmation button of which is pressed, thus erasing part of written human history. And if we are at the chapter of interpretations, what about seeing in “Cultural Identity +” a sort of a premium membership to a society in which few are granted access, based on criteria that escape us. With a polished musical surface, it really gives sheen to the album. It goes the same of “And Them We Kill”, the hunter/hunted motif of which is beautifully cast in a musical case of much appeal. Closing the album, the ambiguous, melancholy and optimistic “Dirt”, which reprises the title of the album in its chorus, is a track that deserves no more than your attention!

No More Alive than You Deserve” is tell-tale of good work and good taste, as well as of creativity and super duper messages. As claims the press release that accompanies the album, it deals with subjects such as the perceived freedom of the individual, the failure of democracy, and the advantages of ignorance. It does not offer a solution. Enjoy!

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