Lost Society
No Absolution

You know that kinda goofy friend you had in high school or college? They weren’t necessarily your BEST friend, but they were always a good time to be around, fun to have a drink with every once in a while and shoot the shit with? But time passes, lives grow apart, and one day you reconnect and suddenly he’s a weird aggro-dad? We’re talking middle-management, wrap-around-sunglasses-wearing, big-truck-driving (complete with truck nuts), cell phone belt-clip and ear-piece aggro-dad with a wife and 3 kids. He’ll still have a drink with you, but all he’ll talk about is money and how kids these days just want to be handed everything?

OK, so this might not be as broadly shared an experience as I like to think it is in my head, but it pretty much exactly sums up how I feel listening to Lost Society’s latest effort.

For those unfamiliar, Lost Society has been kicking around for around a decade now – a group of teenagers bursting onto the scene with their debut album Fast loud Death, tongues firmly in cheek and boasting a spirited brand of thrash metal reminiscent of Anthrax’s glory days. Over a span of 4 years they released a couple more albums, each showing a touch more maturity than the last, but never losing the youthful exuberance or becoming too serious to the point of losing what made them a fun listen.

Guys… I don’t know what happened here. I don’t know who hurt these fun-loving Finns, but things have gotten REAL serious REAL fast. The upbeat, cheeky thrash metal that has defined their career has suddenly been replaced with a sort of Lamb of God meets Machine Head groove metal that takes everything they’ve built up to this point in their career, and throws it off a cliff.

Things start of inconspicuously enough on “Nonbeliever,” with a short acoustic intro complete with a deep, ominous piano that doesn’t necessarily point to anything out-of-the-ordinary. Even when the band kicks into gear with a riff Mark Morton would like put back on his shelf, you still think “Eh, that’s kinda shameless but I’m sure things will turn back around here shortly.” But then, after vocalist Sammy Elbanna screams “GO!” and the band continues it’s liberal Lamb of God-isms sprinkled with a dash of outright Chimaira theft, a sinking feeling began to settle and all I could think was, “Uh oh.” Finally, the area-friendly, Shadows Fall-esque chorus hits, and reality settled in: The Lost Society I knew, was no more.

No Absolution is a veritable who’s who of 2000s American Metal and Metalcore. All the big names are here! The aforementioned Lamb of God and Shadows Fall make regular appearances, along with the likes of Trivium, Devildriver and Diecast, even throwing some nu-ish metal Slipknot worship in for good measure on tracks like “Blood On Your Hands” and “Artificial.” If it weren’t for Sammy’s distinctive high-pitched shrieking, I’d swear “Worthless” was just some track I’d forgotten about from Unearth’s catalogue. On “Deliver Me,” I truly think he’s literally doing an impression of Brian Fair while the rest of the band does everything they can to make the songs sound like a bonus track off Shadows Fall’s The War Within. 

This whole thing feels like material other bands left on the cutting room floor. These are all obviously competent and capable musicians, but I’m struggling to find a single moment on the entire album where anyone does anything that wasn’t mostly derived from someone else’s work, and therein lies the problem: If you’re going to do the same thing as everyone else, you’ve gotta do it better than everyone else. On No Absolution, Lost Society just… hasn’t.

I know there’s an audience out there for what the band has put together here. In fact, I myself am a fan of many of the bands that Lost Society pay (obvious) homage to on this record, but I just can’t shake the disbelief that this is the same band that once had me reminiscing about bands like Anthrax, Overkill and Hirax. That worship felt sincere, and pulled off with and authenticity that, to me, few other modern thrash bands could achieve on the same level. This just feels like a band trying too hard to “grow up,” and it’s got me bummed the fuck out. Less cargo shorts and more bullet belts, please.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
April 15th, 2020

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