Review Summary: With a new band and sound that are both much more forceful than his solo effort, Brain Welch has finally found the sound he has been looking for since his departure from Korn
When Brian "Head" Welch left Korn in 2005, it was clear that his departure had an impact upon the band and their musical direction. Although the band claimed that he had contributed little to the writing process after his departure and that his absence would not affect the sound of their future work, the quality in the subsequent records that Korn has put out after his departure has continuously strayed and declined from their original sound that they had as the original five piece band they were when they first started back in the early 90's. Welch, however, ventured on into a solo project in which he released his first book Save Me From Myself
followed by his first solo record of the same name.
In his solo endeavor, Welch tried a lot of different things he never did in his former band, mainly doing all of the vocals for the first time. While his vocals had a limited range, he proved surprisingly capable (although he did use the studio to his advantage in this respect). The guitars sounded different as well, with Welch abandoning his detuned Ibanez K7 on a lot of the tracks, instead favoring custom six strings that gave the album a different sound as opposed to focusing on nu-metal riffs over and over again. Unfortunately, the record failed to hit home. The lyrics were awful, and his Christian message that was so obviously all over the record came out as something that was hard to take seriously because of this. A few years later, Welch announced the reorganization of his solo project into a band called Love and Death, and with the sound of their debut album Between Here and Lost
it couldn't be more clear that a lot has changed since that first solo album.
The first thing you will notice with this band is the radical change in sound from Welch's solo effort. Instead of focusing on experimental sounds, the band focus on sheer attack. This is evident immediately, as album opener "The Abandoning" blasts forth with its huge main riff. Welch's vocals have also improved greatly from his first solo effort, and he is able to carry out a huge chorus and doesn't try to take his voice into places where it would sound awful (although he does still use the studio to electronically alter it often). The addition of three band members and thus putting the instrumentation in other hands rather than handling it all on his own also gives the band a sound that is both more effective and a welcome departure from the lackluster solo effort.
The defining characteristic of Between Here and Lost
is that of the guitar sound. Every track has a huge main riff that defines it and drives it, with Welch returning to his detuned Ibanez K7 and the subsequent nu-metal riffs taking center stage. The difference between this and his previous riff work in Korn, however, is that the guitars sound extremely forceful and heavy, and the riffs are what the band focus on the most. The main riffs on "The Abandoning", "Paralyzed", "Meltdown" and "Chemicals" are extremely heavy and give the music it's edge. The production, which is spot on, gives the entire band attention as the bass is very clear and distorted when not being overruled by the relentless onslaught of riffs and the drums are also very clear in the mix and and propel each track into their heavy sections.
Although there has been a lot of improvement in the years since Welch released his solo effort, its clear that even with his new band that there is still a lot that needs improving. The lyrics, while a lot better than the last album and not nearly as preachy, are still lacking. Welch seems to have found the sound he works best with in this new band of his, but that doesn't change the fact that it still has a lot of nu-metal qualities and while it still works most of the time here it would be interesting to hear him mix it with some of the experimental aspects of the music he showed on his solo debut. The entire album sounds the same apart from two tracks, which leads to it becoming repetitive with the lack of variation present. "I W8 For U" and "Bruises" are the two that differ from the others, with the former featuring a well done guest spot from For Today frontman Mattie Montgomery that proves very effective with his screams backing up Welch and the latter easing off the riffs and focusing more on the vocals in an attempt to finish the album on a memorable note.
With Between Here and Lost
, Brian "Head" Welch seems to have finally found the sound he has been looking for since he left Korn. With a new band behind him and a much more forceful and defined sound than the one he originally presented on his solo effort, he succeeds a lot more than he did last time. Although the band does need to add variation to their sound next time around and has a lot to work on still, this outlet seems to be a lot more effective than Welch's solo effort even with the nu-metal aspect being more prominent here. Between Here and Lost
is miles ahead of anything Korn has put out in recent years though, and Welch seems to have things together a lot better than his former band does.