Review Summary: The most positive album of 2012.
As 2012 is making it's way out ready to ascend into 2013, Denmark's Make A Change...Kill Yourself have become sudden contenders for the year (much like Nokturnal Mortum in 2009) by releasing one of 2012's most important black metal albums in Fri. Those already familiar with the band will be stoked to hear the news and go out and search for it immediately, undoubtedly finding much to enjoy as MAC...KYS continue to take their melancholy, depressive black metal to new heights. Those with no prior experience with the band might scoff at the Danish duo's ostentatious bandname and suicidal artwork. To do so would be a great disservice to both the band and yourself as you would be missing out on a fine album.
Looking at the artwork of Fri you'll see a poor sap hanging from the gallows in a morbid black and white backdrop, indicating that the musical nature of this album will be equally as ghastly, but, rather than succumb to depressive black metal's pretentious faggotry and general lameness, MAC...KY rise above the sea of mediocrity and produce another unique gem for the conscious music listeners out there seeking music that is authentically dark. Featuring four sprawling tracks over a fifty two minute running time, Fri is a expressive, cinematic affair punctuated by strong melodicism, emotional ruin and savage aggression.
This is a strong album, manifesting dark emotions of failure, reject and self-hatred consistently throughout the fifty two minutes. Much of these empty feelings are portrayed by the astonishing guitar work of lone instrumentalist Ynleborgaz. Employing tremolo picking among other simple but effective techniques, Ynleborgaz really sets the tone of the music with his impeccable songwriting and masterful balance of melody and aggression. The music is very distinct in that it's both violent and somber. Tempos can surge up and down at a whim with stellar harmonies and torturous screams providing assistance. Synthesizers are used minimally in a way on Fri that compliments the dark nature of the music rather than overpowering it. Many bands mask their music in synth to hide their lack of talent. MAC...KY on the other hand does not. This is strictly a guitar oriented album that makes great use of rhythms and melodic sequences.
Along with the prominent guitar role, vocals also play a huge part in Fri's greatness. Ynleborgaz has a very distinctive, high pitched scream that is used through much of the album's duration. Having a tone that is neither whiney or over-zealous, Ynleborgaz gives the impression of a desperate man going mad in a infirmary. The hostile nature of the vocals compliment the guitars perfectly. However, unless you have a good translator nearby you won't be able to decipher the lyrics. You probably won't need them though. Suicide and the feelings of extreme pessimism as displayed on this album are universal. The drumming patterns on Fri are proficiently performed with grace and dexterity, flowing naturally with the music's raging tempos. Bass on the other hand isn't quite so prominent but that's a small blemish on an otherwise stirling record.
The production and atmosphere of this record is absolutely phenomenal. Although the production on Fri is a bit more clean and modernized than on II, the signature MACKY sound is still there. The atmosphere is still pessimistic as ever, the songwriting is still morose and the musicianship is still as tight as ever. This is a phenomenal late year treat from one of my favorite modern black metal acts. I highly recommend this to you guys.