When Clawfinger's 2007 release, Life Will Kill You, arrived on my doorstep some time ago I was intrigued by its simplistic, yet clever, cover. Designed to look like a parental advisory label, only instead of a warning, you get the band name and album title. It isn't a warning at all! Well, perhaps it is. In any case, the album is a bizarre one that caught me off guard, but in a good way. I think I am so confused.
First off, I am a little embarrassed to admit I had not heard of these guys before, but feel I should have. I mean, the band did form back in the late 1980s and released their debut way back in 1993. Where was I? In any case, I popped this in expecting something hard, heavy, and in my face. There I go basing expectations on a band name. Needless to say, what greeted my ears was nothing like what I expected. Instead of something like The Haunting (which is what I think I was expecting), I got something that comes across as a mildly lackluster crossing of Faith No More, Fear Factory, Rammstein, and Bloodhound Gang. I know, that sounds like it should kick some ass, but doesn't.
Hailing from Sweden, Clawfinger has been at this game a long time, and that being the case, they have a nice crisp sound that reeks of experience, almost to a fault. I admit to expecting a younger and rougher act, but this is not a complete disappointment. The flawlessly produced record shows the band gleefully, mostly, crossing industrial and rapcore into an easily accessible mix.
As solid and entertaining as this record is, I have to wonder if it is terribly relevant? I am sure the longtime fans will definitely feel it is relevant. With that out of the way, and attempting to be objective, I do not see this band as being all that meaningful to the current scene. The sound seems to be something that went out of fashion in the 1990s. The rap-metal thing has slipped out of fashion after the big labels milked the sound to death, having flooded the market with sound-alike carbon copies that never lived up to the originators.
Life Will Kill You does have a selection of god tunes, although the replayability seems to be a bit limited. As I listen to them, there is that feeling of the old school that permeates everything and sees to rob it of the edge I believe they were going for.
In the end, I am having a difficulty time justifying the desire/need to rip these guys or this album. In the end it would be a pointless battle, as the fans will get on me, the masses will ignore me, and in the end I would be doing everyone a disservice.
Let me put it this way, Life Will Kill You is not a necessary album. In the big picture it is not going to make a mark or be remembered. Still, the album is a very easy listen, has some definite grooves, and will likely get into your head so that you rock right along with it. I like it and find it hard not to recommend.
Bottomline. In your face grooves, catchy rap-style vocals, and it doesn't make you think all that hard. Put it in, press play, groove.