A Life Once Lost
The Fourth Plague: Flies EP

It’s difficult to discern the massive quantities of hardcore/metal hybrids clogging the arteries of the underground music, so it’s with great pleasure that I find Philadelphia’s A Life Once Lost neither a Dillinger Escape Plan or Hatebreed clone. Certainly, these are two of the bigger bands occupying the space, but A Life Once Lost do an admirable job sounding like none of their peers. At the quartet’s disposal are equal payloads of hardcore, European metal (ala At The Gates) and technical death metal (ala Gorguts) that jettison at once for one of the stranger listening experiences I’ve had lately. Similar to labelmates The Now, A Life Once Lost draw lots of influence from all styles of heavy music to create something familiar yet rather unique. For example, “The Dead Sea” combines the staccato march indicative of East Coast hardcore with progressive-styled bass lines (think Gorguts “Erosion of Sanity”) and then proceeds to blast off into the stratosphere when everything starts to make sense. “Prepare Yourself For What Is About To Come” is equally strange. The opening section of the song recalls Eucharist’s “The View,” but like all of A Life Once Lost’s songs it moves into massive bouts of pit-friendly chugging then on to some backward Sabbath riffs. All of the songs on The Fourth Plague Flies use quick, single-note melodic techniques in the NWOSDM vein to convey a sense of urgency and harmonic dissonance to create tension. You feel pulled in all directions yet drawn to single point. However, it’s not always A Life Once Lost are so successful. “Our Second Home” feels a little too much like jumbled, obtuse song structures simply pinned together for the sake of making a ‘song.’ Furthermore, in the vocal department, A Life Once Lost are less inventive than they are instrumentally. Vocalist Bob Meadows is all power, but as with most bands growling their way to notoriety, there’s not a lot of variation to be found. You get the feeling that Meadows should be doing more, but these guys are extremely green. I’ll wager as A Life Once Lost grow musically, so too will the vocal department. For the most part, The Fourth Plague:Flies sees A Life Once Lost maturing into an formidable outfit and further exploration and refinement will ultimately make them one of the scene’s better bands. If Unearth, Heartscarved or any of the bands mentioned in this review are part of your collection, A Life Once Lost definitely deserves your attention.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Dick
August 5th, 2005

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