Review Summary: Have a Nice Life's Deathconsciousness could, quite possibly, move the Earth.
To put it quite simply, music can be divided into two distinct categories: music as entertainment and music as an art form. It's not to say that the two cannot cross paths as entertainment could be considered an art form and there is certainly an entertaining element to art itself. Neither one of these categories is more important than the other (though try telling that to metal elites or pre teen girls), though acknowledging these two categories is fundamental to having some sort of understanding of music as a medium. Both of these categories have their time and place and can be equally as powerful. One could watch the sunrise while listening to some ambient music and feel almost overcome with emotion. However, to say that their is not something as gripping as hearing Daft Punk at a dance party would denounce the point of music as entertainment: to bring people together. Whichever style is more your taste, they both do one very powerful thing and that is make you feel something. The best music not only sounds good, but has the power to change your emotions and that is precisely what "Deathconsciousness" by Have A Nice Life does.
Have a Nice Life's debut is extremely powerful, almost too much so. Out of all the words in the english language, of all their infinite combinations, the only one that could possibly begin to convey how "Deathconsciousness" makes me feel is as follows: "f.uck." Make no mistake about it, this is the most gripping, powerful, heaviest, heartbreaking album I have ever heard and is the closest thing to depression in music form. When I say heavy, I don't mean a bunch of fat sweaty dudes laying down some of the fastest, most visceral riffs in metal with the cookie monster on vocals; I mean the kind of heavy that feels like a rock is lingering in your chest. The kind of heavy that makes tears welt up inn your eyes. The kind of heavy that seems hopeless. The kind of heavy that makes you feel lost. That makes you feel alone.
A number of things contribute to this, the most prominent being the maserfully crafted lyrics. Like many great albums, "Deathconsiousness" has a lofty concept behind it. However, understanding the story behind it is anything but integral in order to personally connect to the lyrics. Something about an extremely violent sect of Christianity that time forgot and their extremely nihilistic views on life. Not one part of this makes sense to me, despite the album coming with a 75+ page booklet that tries to explain it all. For such a complex subject, Have A Nice Life use extremely simple phrases and somehow this is the biggest emotional punch to the stomach I have ever felt through music. There's something ugly, yet beautiful about the oft repeated chorus of "I Don't Love" that one cannot help but be able to relate to: "I Don't Love/ I Don't Feel Anything/ I Don't Feel Anything Where This Love Should Be".
When there's an album like Deathconsciousness, one cannot help but wonder how the experience can end in a fulfilling way. After all, it's going to take something that's truly special to follow up the genius noise of "I Don't Love." Fortunately, every single aspect of the album is wrapped up into one epic, yet compacted 11 minute song, "Earthmover." Quite possibly my single most favorite song of the decade, "Earthmover" expertly creates a droning sort of tension that is both soothing and leaves you on the edge of your seat to see where this is going. After a few minutes, there is a pause as if to give you false breathing room from the heaviness experienced throughout the album. It's a lie and a beautiful one at that. After the final lines "We wish we were dead" are desperately shouted out, "it" happens. By "it", I mean the most beautiful climax to any piece of music I have heard. The piano comes back in with its reprise, louder than before, as if to say there's no turning back now. A final, desperate, emotional chord is then laid out for no less than five minutes and your ears assaulted by nothing but pure musical bliss. Every single time I listen to this part, I nearly break down. Tears well up, tingling, goosebumps, everything.
Have a Nice Life's debut is simply amazing. Not only is it an awesome piece of music, it's an awe-inspiring experience, one that will no doubt haunt you for a long, long time. While far from being perfect and most definitely not for everyone, Deathconsciousness displays an ambition and passion that cannot be taught. Dark, depressing, haunting, and strangely uplifting, if this record does not evoke some sort of emotion from you then I am convinced you have no soul.