Have a Nice Life
The Unnatural World


4.1
excellent

Review

by Aziz STAFF
January 24th, 2014 | 228 replies | 11,965 views


Release Date: 02/01/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Whether or not the proclamations by hyperzealous My Bloody Valentine acolytes that the timeless Loveless both began and ended the shoegaze era are to be believed, the album’s aftershocks sent a surge through music; restless tides of distortion, fuzz, and lo-fi decadence washed over everything, gripping anyone with an ear to the ground and scraping bedrock as it pulled the music world into its hazy brine. In the following decades, hundreds of groups partook in the raucous crusade, including Have A Nice Life, a Connecticut two-piece who on their debut double album – a move previously reserved for cocksure acts in the purported primes of their careers – reveled as much in the image of shoegaze as they did in the forms of black metal, drone, and a smorgasbord of post-everything. It was a versatile, elegant pastiche that danced between static noise and gentle plucks with balletic poise and somber precision, and the album came out a kaleidoscopic amalgam of their influences, a modern day classic. Detractors chided the group for harping excessively on overwrought themes and indulging in the meager production value they so warmly embraced, but the hopeless muckraking proved unfruitful as hype built slowly and surely for a sophomore effort. Nothing shy of six years later, the aforementioned follow-up is every bit as powerful and moody as its predecessor, and answers the band’s critics with more cohesive, elegant songwriting.

Armed with the distinction of most apropos cover of the century, The Unnatural World is the opera of downtrodden vagrants who twirl haplessly in a nauseating dance of bleak, heavy-hearted disquiet; it’s the devastating sound of unabating gray. Where Deathconsciousness was occasionally punctuated with glints of mercurial beauty, its bitter brother is engulfed in boisterous, ashy noise for much of its comparatively terse 48 minute runtime. Enemies List loyalists might find some familiar tracks here (“Guggenheim”, “Defenestration Song”, “Cropsey”), but they’ve been interpolated so seamlessly into the album that it’s almost as if The Unnatural World is indeed an album of all new material, written and recorded in a single session. “Defenestration Song,” simultaneously a mess of post-punk, power guitars, and addictive, staticky sing-alongs (shout-alongs?) rolls nimbly into “Burial Society,” where as dense sirens clamor, the air thins until the listener is locked in a dusty vacuum, coexisting only with white noise and Dan Barrett’s tortured screams of “cut my wrists, slit my throat, take this body – string it up”. But while Have A Nice Life can effortlessly invoke the pressing of Giles Corey through their suffocating music, don’t mistake my liberal use of ‘noise’ to mean ‘pitiless cataclysms of sound’ – this isn’t a crust punk album after all – the twosome are still intensely proficient at weaving beauty and bliss into their grand canvases of tumult: “Music Will Unntune the Sky” sees seismic layers of distortion rage, only to be calmed by a euphony of choral “ahhhhh”s and vapors of what seem to be bagpipes, while “Cropsey”, the album’s centerpiece epic is a slow burner, sporting the group’s famous post-rock aesthetic. The album is 8 tracks of highlights, but nothing burns more feverishly than the hypnotic “Emptiness Will Eat the Witches,” perhaps the most paralyzing album closer since “Earthmover”. It’s the pitter-patter of a simple yet entrancing sequence of sparse, graceful guitar notes that pulsates gently throughout the track, occasionally disappearing in a wash of piercing organs and a discordant chorale, only to reprise once the wall of noise abates, breathing delicate, wintry patterns on the now-settled soil until the album fades out. Like the album it constitutes, it’s rarely illuminated, yet beautifully moving and unquestionably engrossing. If The Unnatural World is the benchmark for powerful, gorgeous music in 2014 (and it is), we’re in for a great year.



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user ratings (335)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Bradley Harris (4.5)
A great industrial/drone album that serves as the logical follow up to 'Deathconsciousness'...

Eli EMERITUS (3.5)
Not quite the earth mover that was "Deathconsciousness," but Have a Nice Life's long awaited second ...

Hogan CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
And the dead sing in unison, a harmony radiating with life....


Comments:Add a Comment 
GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2014



6108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

As usual, "top 10 album of the year in January"

I'm pretty certain it'll remain that way though.

PunchforPunch
January 24th 2014



6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

whoa slow down gnarly

Digging: Robert Hood - Fabric 39

Gwyn.
January 24th 2014



15071 Comments


Cant w8 for this thread to kick in

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2014



6108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

sorry but it's the best!

KILL
January 24th 2014



71743 Comments


woo

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

PunchforPunch
January 24th 2014



6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

got the 320kbps rip 3 hours ago. need more listens to solidify my rating.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2014



6108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

yeah i was rockin the 192 for a couple days; it's almost a completely different experience with the high quality tbh, especially at high volumes when the in-your-face parts are like right up in your face

KILL
January 24th 2014



71743 Comments


320 high quality? :D

Nikkolae
January 24th 2014



4847 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Have A Nice Life can effortlessly invoke the pressing of Giles Corey through their suffocating music"

this so much, might even top Death... thanks to its shorter playtime i think, nice review buddy

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2014



6108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

kill: !! you're right actually i'd love to hear this on flac or something

nikkolae: yeah i honestly feel like it might be better too, i'm really loving this album.

PunchforPunch
January 24th 2014



6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

you didn't get a promo for this??? damn. anyway, 'Music Will Unntune the Sky' is Godly.

Alastor
January 24th 2014



271 Comments


I need to hear this

Wadlez
January 24th 2014



4037 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Shorter playing time, but just as much filler. Initial impressions of course.

KILL
January 24th 2014



71743 Comments


yes u dont

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2014



6108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

punch: nahhh we contribs don't get promos hehe

wadlez: keep at it, i don't remember how i felt about it my first couple listens but at this point i really feel like there's no filler here at all.

Wadlez
January 24th 2014



4037 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Gnar: I have Deathcon at a 4. This band has some amazing tracks, some just fall flat for me on both albums. The closer is pleasant, but is just a bore to me (love ambient/drone btw).

This may grow.

adr
January 24th 2014



2488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

damn, i should prob listen this more than once.. feel like a decent 3.5 at first listen, all these 5's -_-

Digging: Nihilist - Nihilist 1987-1989

Thane
January 24th 2014



2165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'music will unntune the sky' and 'emptiness will eat the witch' daaamn so good. also good review.

Nikkolae
January 24th 2014



4847 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hey men if it dont work for you it dont work, no need to push it i think

Thane
January 24th 2014



2165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

7:40 in this video is where the sample in cropsey is from idk i found it to be pretty interesting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG33HvIKOgQ



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