After At the Gates, Tomas Lindberg has been busy. He's indulged his crust/grind side in Skitsystem, Lock Up, and Disfear. He's continued his work in Swedish melodeath with Nightrage and The Crown. However, The Great Deceiver might be his strangest project yet, exploring realms dangerously close to (gulp) nu-metal. For proof, see 2003's Terra Incognito, which might grow dreads on your head and send Adidas stripes down your legs.
Life Is Wasted on the Living combines Lindberg's punk and metal sides. The record mixes d-beat and Swedish melodeath, an odd contrast of primal and epic. Fortunately, the band has dropped almost all vestiges of nu-metal. A few half-time grooves remain, but those are now buttressed by toms and a more metallic feel. "Running with Scissors" and "The Big Radiating Nothing" are bulldozing d-beat-ers, while "A Life Transparent" flashes big, Dark Tranquillity-style melodies – then rides off on galloping d-beats. Lindberg's rasp is as strong as ever, though the riffing is the real star here. The production balances grit and polish, layering instruments with depth and clarity.
Of note is the artwork, a collaboration between Deathwish, Inc. boss Jacob Bannon (Converge) and Great Deceiver guitarist Kristian Wåhlin. Yes, that Kristian Wåhlin, the artist who did the covers for At the Gates' Slaughter of the Soul, Dissection's The Somberlain, Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse, Dark Tranquillity's The Gallery, and a slew of other other classic albums. In fact, it was the break-up of Grotesque, Wåhlin's first band with Lindberg, that led to the formation of At the Gates. In The Great Deceiver, they've returned full-circle, thankfully now with metal minds.