Review Summary: Seems Brian Welch found his Head again, as he forges forward with a new band, Love and Death. This is what Korn could be if they wanted to.
Quick Summary: Brian "Head" Welch is a founding member of the highly successful nu-metal group Korn. With Welch as one of the main songwriters, Korn enjoyed almost a decade of Top 5 albums and big-name tours. In 2005, after years of hard drug abuse, Head turned to God and left Korn in order to raise his daughter and clean himself up. He wrote a best-selling book, Save Me From Myself, and released a companion solo album with the same title.
Korn, meanwhile, has in the eyes of many music listeners gone downhill ever since Welch's departure. I won't spend much time discussing Korn's musical endeavors since Head left, but know this: they released a dub-step album.
A couple years ago, Brian Welch decided to re-brand his solo project, forming a band called Love and Death. The band's debut, Between Here & Lost was originally supposed to drop in November 2012, but due to various issues, the release date was pushed back to late January.
On Love and Death's debut album, Head thankfully has not ditched the sound that made him famous. The rousing opener The Abandoning confirms that the signature Brian "Head" Welch sound is still those 7-string guitars tuned down low for a crunchy & rhythmic groove that has bite. A nice heavy cover of Whip It follows, and Watching The Bottom Fall features a powerful chorus.
The intro riff of My Disaster sounds like a colony of pissed-off insects, but the main song itself is pretty by-the-numbers.
Track #7, I W8 4 U (I *** you not, that is the actual song title) is easily the best song on here. The way Love and Death designed the verse was absolutely brilliant, as a quiet section featuring quiet vocals from Head suddenly explodes into an incredibly powerful section making good of guest vocalist Mattie Montgomery's screams. The pre-chorus and chorus of I W8 4 U are simply stunning.
People will probably recognize Paralyzed and Chemicals (and Whip It as well) from 2012's Chemicals EP. Both songs are nice singles that give the listener a good idea of what Between Here & Lost sounds like.
The album closer Bruises is the closest thing Head has gotten to a ballad in awhile, and it is a beautiful way to end this album.
If you enjoyed the lyrics on Head's solo release Save Me From Myself, you will probably enjoy his lyrics on Love and Death's debut. Although most of them are no doubt religious in nature, they do not come off as a sermon set to music. The lyrics on Between Here & Lost are quite relatable, especially for any listeners who have had similar experiences as Welch. His vocals are mostly pretty good, although he does sound a little flat when he tries to imitate Jonathan Davis.
The Final Verdict: Although Love and Death's full-length debut does draw at least a little bit from Korn (the 7-string guitar riffs), Welch also combines more modern influences like Red (former Red guitarist Jasen Rauch produced Between Here & Lost) to create a mostly-enjoyable hard-rock/melodic metal album that offers an interesting alternative to Korn's recent recorded offerings. With Head rejoining Korn to record their new album, let's all hope that Brian Welch gets to exert this kind of influence over the sound.