Life Without Hope...Death Without Reason
5/7/2007 - Review by: Etiam
Loss - Life Without Hope...Death Without Reason - 2006 - Deathgasm Records
The demo portion of this release consists of a negligible ambient intro followed by a pair of songs that shamble onward at nearly identical tempos, nearly indistinguishable from one another in their respective first minutes (and at a number of other points throughout). It is not that doom metal has that many tempi to work with, but the rhythm guitars and drumbeats here are essentially interchangeable, and noticeably so. Loss are not quite the funeral doom they are said to be. Funereal, and rather frequently, but neither slow nor long enough to fully qualify for the ‘funeral’ distinction.
Guitarist and vocalist Mike Meacham alternates between lightly distorted lead melodies (occasionally with counterpoint from Timothei Lewis, who otherwise provides fuzzy, long-stretching chords) and his extremely low but not very powerful growls. Blessedly, they are impossible to decipher, as Loss’s lyrics are of the wrist-slashing, self-pitying variety, and quite elementary at that. Also, perhaps it is the influence of their region, but there are a few passages that feel a little folksy or even post-rock in their phrasing. These moments, though very sparse, serve as some of Loss’s most positive assets.
The latter two tracks do make things a little more interesting, as well. The first is a rather straightforward cover of Katatonia’s ‘Brave’, from the ‘Brave Murder Day’ album that spurred an entire generation of new-age ‘melodoom’-ers. Unexpectedly, the vocalist on this track is not Meacham, but instead the extremely prolific Lord Imperial of Krieg and Twilight fame. His style is frankly not that stirring, tending more towards gruff bellowing than actual growls or emotive black metal howls, but his timbre is closer to the original Åkerfeldt version than Meacham’s own, and so the guest appearance serves as more than a novelty.
The second track is yet another change of pace, and is almost Swedish in its gritty, low-register repetition (that being Grave and Dismember, not In Flames or Dark Tranquillity). The quality of the recording is poor, being from a live show, but its faster pace and more varied riffing demonstrate a little more depth than the original demo tracks would have suggested alone.
‘Life Without Hope…Death Without Reason’, however, is still not very captivating a listen. As the first published effort of a band, particularly one playing doom metal from Tennessee, it is commendable, but its multiple re-releases by a variety of companies is still unmerited and a little misleading.
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