Loss
Life Without Hope… Death Without Reason
Deathgasm
2006
B+



originally released as a demo on Japan’s Weird Truth Productions, Life Without Hope… Death Without Reason finds reissue by Georgia’s Deathgasm Records, which maintains the austere packaging and adds two bonus [live] tracks, “Brave”—a Katatonia cover—and “The Barebacked Burial of Tom Angel.” The first three tracks differ greatly from the bonus closers, embracing the sort of low end trawling that Finnish Doom great Thergothon harnessed. The vocals, exquisitely delivered by Mike Meacham, are remarkably close to Thergothon’s Niko Sirkiä’s sewer speak: a gutter groan slowed by dams of excrement, decaying flesh, and swarms of flies. The backdrop is nearly as bleak, with raindrop percussion, dueling funerary guitars, and plaintive bass throbbing underneath.

While the two tracks’ titles—“Conceptual Funeralism unto the Final Act (of Being)” and “Cut-up, Depressed and Alone”—call to mind a bizarre mingling of Hegelian headiness and suburban despair, any awkwardness is lost on first listen. These two tracks are exquisitely recorded; every contribution is lovingly isolated; allowed to slowly glimmer—piles of broken glass, waning campfires, wind-tossed mobiles built from bits of tarnished chrome, splintered geodes. The three-minute mark of “Cut-up, Depressed and Alone” tastefully—and surprisingly—slips into meditative guitar accompanied by pulmonary percussion. If not for the death growls creeping through the lines, this could be Neil Young on a Sunday morning, his fingers slipping through an acoustic’s strings while the coffee quietly brews.

“Brave,” which showcases Krieg vocalist Imperial, is somewhat of a shock after the first half of the recording, sounding like Katatonia covering Trouble, all recorded via handheld in a shitty suburban watering hole. Closer “The Barebacked Burial of Tom Angel” brings the speed, with double-bass drilling buckshot holes through Morbid Angel styled guitar pyrotechnics. The song does occasionally slip back into the Doom laden feel of the first half of the recording, with drop-anchor bass, dying heartbeat drums, and soaring guitar work.

Doom Metal, like other Metal subgenres, usually engages its tendency to never stray from fundamentals, resulting in an annoyingly predictable experience. Yet, Loss manages not only to channel the disembodied spirit of one of Doom Metal’s greats—Thergothon—but also to improve upon this sound, aided by truly inspiring musicianship. Life Without Hope… Death Without Reason is currently scheduled for a vinyl release from the mysterious Parasitic Records.


Reviewed by: Stewart Voegtlin
Reviewed on: 2006-05-03
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