Released: 2007, Ferret Music
A Life Once Lost (ALOL) are a Southern inspired metalcore band from Philadelphia, releasing their fourth full length since 2000 with IRON GAG. With Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe helping out on vocal production, and having toured with Black Label Society and Opeth, ALOL demand to be taken seriously.
I suppose ALOL could bear comparison to Black Label Society, Pantera and Down, the Southern rock bands that immediately spring to mind. There is the same groove, swagger and fuzzy guitar tone, although ALOL sound more beefed up. There is a slight bit more speed and tempo, and the riffs depend less on the blues than on other bands like Lamb of God. I heard Down’s latest album and didn’t enjoy it much. ALOL’s singer Bob Meadows sounds like a more abrasive Phil Anselmo, and he’s honed his metalcore scream to fit in with the music. Compared to Down though, he’s got much more energy, which is unsurprising considering ALOL pride themselves on their live shows (according to the little blurb at the back of the promo).
I’m really NOT into this kind of music. I’ve never found anything in it to excite me, and I think I’ve found the pinnacle of Southern rock/metal music in ALOL's labelmates, Maylene and The Sons of Disaster, reviewed here earlier this year, where their musicianship and songwriting were aired with an interesting slant. The material on IRON GAG is competently done, and the guitars and drumming are actually quite a way above average. The singer does his thing, with conviction I suppose, but it’s really not something I’d stick on my I-Tunes for any period of time. And the lyrics, for fuck’s sake. Here’s a sample, from ‘All Teeth’: “I think it would be amusing to sit here/and write up a list/Just a list that describes the way I want to destroy myself”, with the amazingly introspective yelled chorus “I feel sick again” over and over and over. That’s the overarching lyrical content of the whole album – suicide, self mutilation, self pity. Yeah, I do feel sick again. This sounds like what I wrote in my hormonal 13s when I was pimply, stricken with BO and an inability to speak to girls. Luckily I grew up.
Anyway, if you don’t listen to lyrics and you like bands like Down and/or the metalcore stuff, give ALOL a try, you might find something there. Or you could do yourself a favour by getting Maylene and The Sons of Disaster, and really taste the Jack Daniels and Marlboros.
PS I have seen comparisons between ALOL and Meshuggah on reviews of the band. I truly fail to see the similarities. Someone please enlighten me.