CD Review

Lithium - "Lithium"

By Austin Govella

Tiamat's heavy metal domination was pretty clear, so when Johnny Hagel, Tiamat's other half, embarks in search of new sounds you're probably not expecting Lithium's solid, rock-grounded electro arrangements.

Team Mr. Hagel with Carl Nilsson of Moth, one of Sweden's leading industrial acts, and Lithium begin to make sense.

Johnny says his ambition was to "create industrial music with a futuristic spirit."

It was the futurism that threw me. I guess I expected Yes-esque prog rock key progressions over off-kilter electro rhythms. I was wrong.

The perfect meld of electro arrangements and rock progressions makes Lithium stand out from the rest of the electro crowd. Not to say Hagel and Nilsson purvey some kind of trite, pop-based electro rock. On the contrary, Lithium's fresh turn at electro sounds original and entirely underground, while still retaining enough accessibility to suggest future success for the duo.

The demo's opener, Insect, buries the rock themes beneath solid electro. Heavy guitar accents the rhythm - never burying the song and well balanced against the key sequences. The female backing vocals sound slightly off-key, but fit the song, regardless. Hagel's restrained vocals push their way to the front.

The song-writing experience is clear: every element occupies a distinct niche in the song. No unnecessary sounds clutter the listening experience.

Failure follows, toning down the aggressive guitar in favor of a more engaging melody that encourages you to sing along.

The seductive and hypnotic Ugly Friend finishes the demo on a strong note. Hagel and Nilsson's song writing explores a consistent style without lapsing into blocks of unnoticeable sound-a-like songs.

As half of Tiamat during their most successful period, the albums Wildhoney and Clouds, Lithium should have no problem swinging a record deal, so keep an eye out for an album. Overall, the demo's production is a little stale, but the skills Hagel and Nilsson demonstrate tell all there is to tell.

Contact Information:
Post: Lithium, c/o Johnny Hagel, Ballstavagen 202, 162 57 Bromma, Sweden