Album Review :
Love and Death - Chemicals EP

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Artist: Love and Death (Featuring Brian “Head” Welch”)
Title: Chemicals EP
Label: Headdog Music
Release Date: 04/24/2012
Reviewer: Lee Brown

Track listing:

  1. Paralyzed
  2. Whip It
  3. Chemicals (feat. Matt Baird)
  4. Paralyzed (Har Megiddo Remix)
  5. Chemicals (Har Megiddo Remix)

Ever since his highly publicized conversion to Christ, and subsequent split from KoRn, Brian “Head” Welch has been on many people’s radars. Since his conversion, Welch has produced two books, toured nationally as a part of the Whosoever movement, as well as releasing his first solo album back in 2008.  After that came a long period of silence (musically) which was finally broken in October of 2011 when Brian unleashed the single “Paralyzed,” complete with its own music video.

Bringing things to the world of today, a new transition has begun. If you follow Brian on any of his various social pages, you would have seen a few months back where Brian “officially” transitioned from being considered a solo act to taking on a full band name. This was done in part to honor the musicians who had already been touring with him for some time, and in part to signify a new chapter in Brian’s career. Thus we come to the age of transition where the band is somewhere between “Brian ‘Head’ Welch,” “Love and Death (featuring Brian ‘Head’ Welch),” and simply “Love and Death.”  Chemicals is that very transition point.  This is where fans are asked to officially create a new place in their heart for an old favorite, if you will.

Chemicals consists of the hit song “Paralyzed” which Brian previously released under his own name, the title track “Chemicals,” a cover song, and two remixes. To that end, Chemicals leaves you wanting more. If you’ve already been blasting the song “Paralyzed,” which will be used prominently in the new movie HardFlip, then what you’re essentially getting with this EP is one new song and one cover song; considering many people do not count (or simply dismiss) remixes.

Musically Love and Death (as with Brian’s past album) is certainly reminiscent of Brian’s KoRn roots. This should not surprise anyone considering Brian was a founding member.  From the arrangement of the songs to the style and tone of the music the listener is reminded of the hit band from Brian’s past. Brian even uses many of the vocal stylings that Jonathan Davis (front man of KoRn) used/uses. Again, this shouldn’t surprise anyone who has listened to Welch’s last release.

The EP begins, as mentioned, with “Paralyzed.” If you haven’t heard the song before, it is certainly worthy of the small price the EP asks of you by itself. However, fans will already have this track. Overall, “Paralyzed” is still the strongest cut on the EP, as well. The other new song, “Chemicals” is good enough, though not ground breaking. Tonally it picks up where “Flush” left off.

The track I was most surprised by on this EP, however, was the cover song. You simply can’t beat a harder edged version of Devo’s cult-classic “Whip It.” While I was driving in the car and taking my first listen to the album I started singing along without realizing at first what amazing thing was unfolding before my ears. Once I realized why I already knew the lyrics, I was hooked. While the rendition will not be for everyone, it certainly shows a fun side to Welch that is usually left to his Twitter posts. I think the only way Love and Death could have made a better choice of songs to cover would have been if they used Men Without Hats “The Safety Dance.”

And then there are the remix songs, which I will not comment on. Remix songs are like cold pizza. Some people will argue endlessly how they simply taste better than the original, while others find even the idea disgusting.

Overall: Chemicals EP is a solid distraction until a full length is finally released. The highlight song is still the hit “Paralyzed,” which many will have heard many times over already, while the other new song “Chemicals” merely holds its own. If nothing else, buy the song “Whip It,” because every band should do a cover of Devo at some point in their careers. Chemicals biggest draw is that it gives just enough to make you crave a full length. And to that end, Love and Death should be on your radar.

Note: As with my colleague Steve, a numerical score on an EP seems unjustified, and was left of intentionally. Oh, and this post is also intentionally filled with links that will enhance your overall enjoyment of it… or annoy you endlessly. I’m ok with both.