Ferret Music, 2005
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/25/2010
When I listen to A Life Once Lost, a death metal band, it’s my ears that are being killed. So many metal bands think that screaming lyrics makes them heavier than the competition, and ALOL falls into that trap. If it weren’t for the intense attention to detail in the band’s music, this release would get filed in my “candidate for coaster” pile, next to Meat Loaf, Linkin Park, and Korn.
ALOL have amazing musical integrity, but that’s the only thing they have going for them. Certainly, I’ve read more interesting lyrics than “Pain And Panic.” Sure, vocalist Robert Meadows is screaming, “Tonight you are going to suffer / And I will be the last glimpse of anything you see…” with intensity, but balanced with the meandering, unfocused “Maybe I’m neurotic or just wrong in general / Maybe I should concede” in “Vulture,” I’m unimpressed. The speaker in the lyrics of any band is the expert on whatever they are talking about in the song. The wishy-washy attitude weakens these lines and seems contradictory to the down-your-throat delivery. Such an intense delivery shouldn’t be weakened by a Charlie Brown attitude in the writing. There could have been much better lyrics (my suggestion: “I’m neurotic / I’m always wrong”) where the speaker is more forceful.
The highlight on this release, both musically and lyrically, has to be track ten, “Ghosting.” This cut captures what the entire release should be sounding like. After enduring the previous nine tracks, I was used to the screaming and actually understood what Meadows was so peeved about. He declares, “I am impatient and hard to please...When this body lay lifeless, don’t patronize me by / Insisting this was all done because of you.” The hostility of the speaker towards the subject is the highlight of this release.
If I close my eyes, I can see A Life Once Lost on stage with sweat dripping as vocalist Meadows screeches his lyrics with intensity. Drummer Justin Graves is intense with hostility as he moves his hands around his set, while guitarists Robert Carpenter and Douglas Sabolick are frantically playing their riffs in conjunction with bassist Nicholas Frasca. Onstage, in a live environment, ALOL are killing the crowd. I just wish listening to this wouldn’t kill my ears.