Love and Death – Between Here and Lost

By Lee Brown on January-14-2013 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , | Share

Love and Death – Between Here and Lost
Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/54
4.5 (18 votes)

Artist: Love and Death
Title:  Between Here and Lost
Label: Tooth and Nail
Release Date: 01/22/13
Reviewer: Lee Brown

Tracklisting:

  1. The Abandoning
  2. Whip It
  3. Watching the Bottom Fall
  4. By the Way
  5. Meltdown
  6. My Disaster
  7. I W8 4 U (feating Mattie Montgomery of For Today)
  8. Fading Away
  9. Paralyzed
  10. Chemicals
  11. Bruises
Love and Death’s debut album is something of an anomaly. While it is very common for a band to develop a following for a few years prior to releasing an actual album, very few spend that same time in the spotlight. Typically, while a handful of people will have heard the band or their songs, the debut album is something new to most. Love and Death, however, have been in the spotlight from day one. In fact, they have had the opposite issue that most bands starting out face. Rather than start in obscurity to the listening world, many people have already been exposed to some of the tracks on this album for some time.

In fact, the band put out their Chemicals EP last year… featuring a small number of tracks also featured on this album. When I spoke to Brian “Head” Welch (lead singer) recently, he told me this was the plan all along. For most bands, it takes years to even get the industry to notice you before fans or record labels will invest in what you have to offer, although this model is drastically changing due to technology. Love and Death, on the other hand, became instantly recognized the moment they formed due to Head’s past life as a founding member of KoRn, national-headline-stealing conversion to Christ, and subsequent release of his solo album Save Me From Myself. The problem for L&D became establishing themselves as a “new” band and not merely as “Head plus some other guys.” So, while I wish the entire album was new material, it made sense when Head told me that the EP (and songs released as singles since) was to get people used to the band as a new entity in music. Think of this as “Love and Death: Phase One.” Just as Marvel introduced the world slowly to its characters and then unleashed them together in The Avengers, Love and Death took some time to introduce the world to their “new brand” and this album is the culmination of that process.

Despite this newness, it’s hard not to feel like Love and Death is still a bit of an extension of Head’s past works. But that’s not a bad thing! I agree with him when he says that this album is something of a culmination of where he has been and where the band is going. Technically, the sound the band works with is labeled “Nu-Metal” by those who grew up listening to KoRn and all the many copycat bands that followed their lead (pun intentional). The guitars are grungy, the drums are fast-paced, and the vocals move between growly and smooth, but these elements do not come together to make one more band that sounds like As I Lay Dying, so as to move them into the plethora of “hardcore” genres out there today. What you’re getting with Love and Death really is building off of Brian’s life in KoRn, but it mixes with some new elements and styles that the rest of the band brings. So, if you were to pull up KoRn’s discography and compare it to Love and Death’s debut album, you’d certainly see some similarities, but, along with those similarities comes growth as well.

Because of all of this, the final product ends up giving you that same feeling you get when you run into an old friend you haven’t seen in years. They’re still fundamentally the same person, but the more time you spend with them, the more you start to see how life has changed them along the way. In that same line of thinking, Between Here and Lost gives you that familiar feeling that makes you comfortable, but soon begins to start showing you how this is not just “Head plus some other guys.” And the final product is a well balanced heavy album that brings the past and the present together into one head-bangingly worthy addition to any hard music lover’s collection.

The album starts off strong with “The Abandoning.” Within the first five seconds that familiar KoRn vibe becomes apparent, but as the song progresses you start to hear where the band makes it more and more their own. Lyrically, “The Abandoning” is our first taste of the dominant themes that run throughout the album. As Brian starts singing “Master, master, save me… don’t give up on me now, because that’s what I’ve already done” you start to see threads of themes such as devotion to Christ, the battle with past sins and regrets, and a new assurance and hope for the future. Even the title of the album echoes this sentiment. Notice that it is “between” here and lost.

“Whip It,” the band’s cover of Devo’s 80’s classic follows. To save space, I’ll not go in depth on the songs I’ve already commented on in my review of the Chemicals EP. It should be noted, however, that “Whip It,” “Paralyzed,” and “Chemicals” are all fantastic songs. Of these, fans are likely most familiar with “Paralyzed,” which Brian released as a single under his own name some time before the band came together.  You can see in my explanation above as to why it actually made some reasonable sense for the band to include these tracks. Not only are they powerful songs, but this album is a culmination of the band’s first chapter, rather than the beginning of it. As such, these three songs represent some of the band’s best offerings.

“Watching the Bottom Fall” is a catchy song with a powerful hook and some strong riffs that explores that moment in time when everything falls apart between people. The line “I don’t have energy for you. I don’t have energy to see this through,” is an intimate look at that moment in any relationship where a crossroads is reached.  “By The Way,” one of the most touching songs on the record, examines the role of death in life. Head told me it was inspired by several recent loses he has personally faced, as well as the many fans who have shared heart-wrenching stories with him. “By the Way” joins (in my book at least) The Showdown’s “Laid to Rest,” Blindside’s “Where the Sun Never Dies,” and Demon Hunter’s “Carry Me Down,” (possibly even Project 86’s “From December”) as one of the most comforting songs to listen to when grief strikes. Musically, this is as close to a power ballad as Love and Death gets, but even then it is on the heavier side of the “ballad” category.

“Meltdown” and “My Disaster” are up next. I group these two together because the themes and stylings are very similar. “Meltdown” continues to bring heavy guitars, skillful drum work, and the dichotomy between smooth singing and gruff outbursts of sonic power. Thematically, it explores those moments when we feel on the edge of sanity. The clincher to the song (situated close to the middle), however, points to the way in which Christ has met us in our darkest hour. Here Brian states, “Over and over in my head, I see your scars. Remember the day when we first met. Take me back.” “My Disaster” begins with a nice long and melodic musical interlude before jumping into the theme of feeling lost as everything crashes down around you. Here the point of hope comes as Brian repeats the problem of life falling apart, but simply states, “but I’ll make it through.” Here, the deepest trails we face are brought before Christ as Brian says that he comes to appreciate “the pain that leads me to You.” Both “Meltdown” and “My Disaster” will resonate well with those who feel lost, alone, and looking for hope. To the band’s credit, the problems are not undermined in order to get to the hope. Both are experienced (sonically) in such a way that the listener moves through that journey with them.

The song people will likely be talking the most about (already are) when they hear it is “I W8 4 U.” Let’s just get it out of the way here, Mattie from For Today adds that “X-factor” to everything he touches. This song is no different. And, while it is Brian who is the veteran in this equation, Mattie’s power and intensity simply infuse “I W8 4 U” with a new sort of power. When talking about the song with Brian, he told me the unfortunate thing is that the band is going to have to attempt Mattie’s part when playing it live. Once you hear the song and hear Mattie come in with a guttural “fed up” and just bottom it out, you’ll understand how that could be a point of concern for them. Overall, the song blends L&D’s style and Mattie’s vocals in beautiful and powerful ways. Brian called this the heaviest song he’s ever done. I tend to agree. The theme of the song is waiting for someone who has fallen (is falling?) and being their for them, but just needing to tell them to get off their butt and make something happen. It is a song for people who have a bond or a connection and trust one another enough to speak the truth. This also explains the terrible text-speak style used in naming the song. It’s about being there for someone intimately close and fighting for them even when they’ve stopped fighting for themselves.

“Fading Away” has the unenviable job of following “I W8 4 U.” Luckily, it is another solid track. For some reason, I got a strong Demon Hunter vibe while listening to this track. That is, of course, ironic considering Demon Hunter has a song entitled “Fading Away.” L&D’s “Fading Away” doesn’t sound like DH’s, but the overall atmosphere just felt like it wouldn’t be out of place on a DH album. In a further bit of irony, the lyrical theme behind L&D’s track does seem very similar to DH’s “Undying,” as it seems to tackle the issue that we are but a vapor in this world that is fading into eternity.

Just as the album opened strongly with “The Abandoning,” it closes strongly with “Bruises.” Like many of the tracks before it, “Bruises” takes an intimate look at the pain we often go through in life. “Show us how to live. How do we forgive? Through the bitterness, how do we get there?” This song feels like the culmination of many of the past tracks. As a musical journey, everything leads to “Bruises,” and it does not disappoint. “Show us how to live…show us how to die, how to give our lives. living sacrifice. How do we get there?” The track is much softer than the others that it follows. Piano work can be found throughout. The whole experience and soundscape works to bring the listener before the throne. However, the song never answers the questions posed in it. This is intentional. While it would have been great (especially considering the many many KoRn fans while will likely buy this album) to have an evangelism track or something like it at the end of the song… that’s not the end game. The end game is, in my opinion, to bring the listener to the point where they’re finally willing to ask the right questions. Too many times in our faith we live like we have the answers… this song reminds us what we need is the right spirit before God, and the willingness to keep seeking. In all, “Bruises” reminds me of many of the Psalms of David. David wasn’t afraid to share his pain with God. Neither is Love and Death. David asked the right questions, and was open to hearing God. It’s my prayer that many hear God through this work and begin by asking the right questions about our pain and trials in life.

Overall: Love and Death builds off of Brian’s signature “KoRn” sound and adds new layers into the mix. Fans of this breed of metal, or of Brian’s past work on his own or in KoRn, should have no doubts in making this a day one purchase. Mattie Montgomery’s guest appearance alone makes this one pre-order worthy. The album is extremely solid from start to finish. Lyrically, the album focuses on the hurts, pains, and regrets of life, but points to the source of new life and forgiveness of past mistakes. If there is one detraction, it’s that true fans will have heard several of the songs before, especially those on the Chemicals EP. Rather than knock the band for the choice to “culminate Love and Death phase one,” however, it is important to note that each of those songs does have a snug fit into the overarching theme and flow to the album. So, in the end, the overall product is made stronger for their inclusion. Even if it is not breaking new ground, Love and Death’s Between Here and Lost deserves your attention… and it will grab it and hold on to it as soon as the album begins.

RIYL: KoRn, Brian “Head” Welch, For Today, Project 86
Love and Death - Between Here and Lost, 4.5 out of 5 based on 18 ratings

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About the author Lee Brown

Lee Brown is Discipleship Pastor at Meadow Park Church in Columbus, OH. He is the author of "Here's How: An Introduction to Practical Discipleship," and is also an adjunct professor and content specialist for Mid-America Christian University. Most importantly, he is a loving husband and father. Lee loves jamming to bands like Blindside, Project 86, Demon Hunter, Spoken, Lecrae, and Lil' Dre. For more about Lee, be sure to visit www.KnightoftheSon.com. View all posts by Lee Brown

16 Responses to 'Love and Death – Between Here and Lost'

  1. Gud review, howeva, i gave it a 3, 4 the folowin reasons (maybe im bein nitpiky, but this is my asesment/ opinion):

    1. “Whip It” sounds a bit diferent, im asumin they removed Matt Bairds guest vocals, since i didnt realy hear him in this mix. I like the ep version beta. I also think cova songs shud b placed near the end of albums, not the beginin.

    2. “If there is one detraction, it’s that true fans will have heard several of the songs before, especially those on the Chemicals EP.”- I cant stand wen bands do this, its a pet peev of mine. I had hoped that the ep trax wer exclusiv 2 the ep. It duznt realy giv an incentiv 4 people 2 buy the ep if it has 3 of the same songs on the ful length, besides the remixes, wich u can download seperately. It was just anti- climactic 4 me.

    3. Alota the guitar rifs seem 2 b recycled, repetitiv, generic korn rifs and even the same type of rifs from “save me from myself”. I had hoped 4 sumthin a lil diferent i guess, but at least people know wat 2 expect now. I just hope i can giv the next album a 4 at least if they expand ther sound a bit n experiment wit diferent tones/ sounds n rifs.

  2. Chris Evangelista says:

    I am wondering as well as to why Matt Baird’s vocals on Whip It has been taken out. Hmmm…overall this is a great album!

  3. Noah Salo says:

    This is a good review. What you say about Mattie is true. His voice is so deep and powerful, I’m pretty sure it would be difficult for anyone else to try and copy his signature sound…

  4. MrM says:

    Need to get this. So excited. Only song I actually have is “Paralyzed”, so the whole re-using tracks issue isn’t an issue for me. However, I can’t get past the “Whip It” cover, I didn’t even like the EP version with Matt Baird, so I doubt I’ll like it without him. I’m not big on covers, unless they’re on an actual covers album. Aside from that, this is looking to be amazing!

  5. MrM says:

    Also, for everyone who has it, how does it compare to Save Me From Myself? I felt that those songs were mostly very (to use an over used word) epic, especially “Washed By Blood”. While they weren’t very fast paced songs (except for a few moments), they were very strong anthematic. Is this album similar?

  6. I love the Avengers/Marvel reference! :) Good review, Lee.

  7. Loren Wade says:

    I would have given it a 3. Something was lost in the translation from Brian “Head” Welch to Love and Death. The lyrics lost a lot of substance, the music lost some originality, and it became a tad repetitive. It’s an enjoyable album. I saw this coming from miles away with their EP, but it just all seems and feels like a typical sophomore release. I expected more from Head. That’s not to say this isn’t an all-around good or unenjoyable album. It is, but I enjoyed his solo release a lot more.

  8. Jake C says:

    I think reusing the songs from the ep is fine. I remember them saying that was always the plan even before they released the ep.

  9. Thestormmaster says:

    Wasn’t very keen on Head’s first solo album. This was a major step up from that album. I thing it is a great progression from Korn, but keeps the sound for that fanbase.

  10. ParkerloveJesus says:

    Finally had a chance to listen to the whole album and most of the album brings me back to the early KORN days (but with less offensive lyrics, lol) which is awesome.

  11. Travis says:

    I’d rather be listening to Korn. Thank God he’s re joining them.

  12. Travis says:

    oh i sure am.

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