Review Summary: Love and Death makes an excellent effort on their debut album. Between Here and Lost has a lot of fire within it and it keeps the fire going from the opening track all the way through the closing seconds.
Back in 2005 Korn’s lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch made the decision to depart from the band and devote himself to cleaning up his life and caring for his young daughter. Since his departure, he’s done just that, while also re-starting his music career. In 2008 Welch released his first solo album Save Me From Myself, but since then it’s been a bumpy road for his career. Welch has broken up with his co-owned label Driven Music Group and rebranded his musical efforts back during 2012 in the form of the band Love and Death. Love and Death consists of Welch as the front man on vocals and guitars and his prior touring members Michael Valentine and Dan Johnson; on bass and drums respectively. They have also added the young J.R. Bareis to help out on guitar duties. Love and Death released their first EP, Chemicals, back in April of 2012 and now they bring out their debut album Between Here and Lost. The first thing most people will associate Brian “Head” Welch with, is Korn. After being a pivotal player in Korn since its birth people will try to make comparisons between Welch’s current work on Between Here and Lost and his past work with Korn. Some may say Between Here and Lost sounds like it could be a Korn album, I would disagree.
Between Here and Lost, as an overall album, does not sound like a Korn album. If you placed the album in the Korn discography it just wouldn’t fit in. It lacks Fieldy’s clickty-clack bass, Jonathan’s unique voice and Munky’s texturing abilities. However, the guitar work itself does sound like it would feel right at home on one of Korn’s earlier albums. When your front-man was Korn’s lead guitarist for a decade, this kind of influence could happen. The riffs are big and crunchy and the introductions are explosive. The intro on ‘Paralyzed’ actually sounds eerily similar to that of Korn’s ‘Thoughtless’. Maybe I’m crazy, but these big explosive guitars seem to be exactly what Korn has been missing since Welch’s departure. It’s safe to say the guitar work on Between Here and Lost is a testament to the idea that Korn will never truly get back to their roots without Welch.
Well, enough about Korn. Time to turn to the vocal and lyrical work on Between Here and Lost. If you heard Welch’s solo effort, Save Me From Myself, it should be no surprise the vocals needed some work. Thankfully they received some attention and have moved along in a better direction. Welch sounds like he’s become more comfortable with his voice and thus the vocal work on Between Here and Lost is much stronger than his previous effort on Save Me From Myself. Although he’s still no Michael Barnes when it comes to belting out a roaring chorus. What Welch does do very well though, is the slower, whispery vocals and they make plenty of appearances on the album. See the closing track ‘Bruises’ for a prime example. The lyrical themes, similar to most nu-metal, are centered on personal anguish in life. Welch sings about various struggles he’s dealt with throughout the album. The song ‘Chemicals’ for example, is about the struggles of giving into the temptation to crawl back into past desires which may be initially pleasing, but are ultimately meaningless and hurtful endeavors. Rather than giving into regrettable acts, one should adhere to their good conscience and resist giving in to these desires. As Welch says in the song, “Regret as I fall for that sweet burn/you’re the killer and the kisser/inject as I crawl to my master/stop the pressure, hear the whisper.” The lyrics throughout the album aren’t blatantly Christian themed either. Sure, one could view them in a Christian light if they wanted to, but the lyrics don’t go about preaching the gospels either. The lyrics do have a more positive spin to them though. You won’t hear cussing or spiteful raging in the tracks; which can be a pleasant change of pace from typical anger driven nu-metal.
The album as whole is an excellent nu-metal album. As discussed earlier, the guitar work is reminiscent of the earlier Korn days. The songs are heavy and melodic with plenty of expansive, catchy choruses and explosive introductions, and they also contain a sprinkling of those little ambient effects. The album is incredibly consistent too. The songs all keep the same basic elements but each has just enough of a twist to keep them from blurring together. The exception to this being ‘Bruises’ which takes a more mellow approach and really sticks out. Adding in another track in the same vein as ‘Bruises’, near the beginning, would have been a nice touch to mix things up a bit more. The best song on the album has to be ‘I W8 4 U’ which features the vocal talents of For Today’s Mattie Montgomery. Welch and Mattie display great chemistry and contrast throughout the song. Welch takes up his strong suit with the softer vocals and Mattie does a brilliant job taking on the screaming. It’s definitely the song with the most kick to it. Some other suggested tracks would be ‘Watching the Bottom Fall’, ‘Bruises’ and ‘The Abandoning’. However, they’re all worth a few plays.
Overall, Welch has improved his vocal effort from his solo album and brings over the talents he showcased during his Korn days into his current musical effort, Love and Death. Love and Death makes an excellent effort on their debut album. Between Here and Lost has a lot of fire within it and it keeps the fire going from the opening track all the way through the closing seconds.