By: Tim Grzecki
These blogs will be based on my reaction to the music. I’m a fan with a wealth of useless knowledge but I’m not a technical geek. You’ll never read about my appreciation for arpeggio as the basis of my like or dislike of a given artist’s work. I don’t care about time signatures, blast beats, or drop d versus standard tuning. I do however think real bass players play with their fingers and not a pick. If it gets my head moving and my foot tapping, it’s good.
Band of choice this time around: Love and Death, whose debut album Between Here and Lost dropped January 22nd via Tooth & Nail Records.
Let me guess. Your first thought was: “WHO??” Can’t say that I blame you, I only know of them because the driving force and front man of the band used to be in one of my all time favorite bands, KoRn. Quick history lesson: former KoRn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch left the band in 2005 when he found God and kicked a drug addiction. He since released two books, and one album Save Me From Myself. In 2012 he solidified the line up in his band and they took on the name Love and Death.
Between Here and Lost has an obvious KoRn influence, which is not a bad thing. The songs are riff heavy with subdued verses and melodic choruses. The majority of which feature familiar a cadence that inexplicably makes your whole body move up and down. “Paralyzed,” “Fading Away,” “Chemicals” and “Watching the Bottom Fall” are examples. However on “By the Way,” the band switches things up and plays a riff that stands out as being unusual in the current rock/metal scene. I’m a sucker for riffs my brain finds distinct.
The album shows Welch expanding his horizons in his lyrics. Whereas his last album was overtly Christian, to the point that at times Welch was seemingly singing as God himself, on Between Here and Lost, he has mainly left his message up to the listeners to find on their own. “The Abandoning” speaks to a master without being blatantly Christian. The chorus of “Paralyzed” could be about a leaving lover as it is about a deity. This change is good. It fits the music better, and let’s be honest, too strong of a message can be off-putting.
Vocals are the main issue in this album. Welch, who isn’t a great singer, goes from soft whispers in parts and flat out screams in others, with melodic singing in between. There’s an effect on the vocals, which doesn’t fix the fact that his singing isn’t a strong suit. This isn’t the type of music that requires an amazing vocalist and his vocals aren’t horrible, just not up to par with the music. This might be the KoRn fan in me, but I can’t help but wonder what these songs would sound like with Jonathan Davis.
Despite some missteps, weaker vocals, at least one chorus that falls flat, and an ill-advised cover of Devo’s “Whip It,” Between Here and Lost is still a bad ass album. It screams to be cranked and will cause you to drive in excess of the legal limit. If you’re a fan of heavy music, especially the supposed “nu metal” style, you will not be disappointed.
Final Grade: B –