Sound — 9
Brian "Head" Welch definitely has quite the musical background. You nu metal fans out there will probably recognize him as the former lead guitarist of Korn. For 12 years and 6 albums, Brian helped his bandmate Jonathan Davis lead hundreds of thousands of fans screaming along to his raging vocals and hate-filled lyrics. When Brian would later leave the prestigious group in 2005 after converting to Christianity and stopping his use of drugs, he then departed into a dynamic solo career. And now, Brian has returned to the music world with a new band called Love & Death (recently interviewed by UG), as well as the band's first studio album, "Between Here & Lost". Now I'm sure you're wondering: after changing spiritually, has anything changed musically when it comes to this heavy metal vocalist, especially when it comes to lyrics? And does this new album even compare to his work with Korn?
After popping in this new CD, any doubts or worries of mine were completely washed away, and were soon replaced with comforting amounts of heavy distortion and pummeling vocals. For any fan of Korn's earlier albums, this new record is right up your alley. The disc kicks off with "The Abandoning", which prominently features high levels of hate, rage, and balls out metal. "I am walking death/ I am Death's best friend/ I create disaster/ I'm the master killing me" Brian screams through the speakers with his rage meter set on overload. What else would you expect from Brian Welch? Well, since we're being honest, you probably weren't expecting Brian to cover "Whip It" by Devo. As strange as it may sound, this cover completely works out, and also happens to be one of my favorite tracks on "Between Here & Lost". Brian and the rest of the creative team behind Love & Death completely gutted this song of all poppy synthesizers and happy group choruses, and in their place lay down some spine chilling electric guitar arpeggios and lethal-sounding falsetto. Love & Death remains committed to this style of sound throughout the rest of the album, and I have to say, I don't have that many complaints.
Lyrics — 8
Brian's vocals and singing style really haven't changed that much since his days in Korn. Throughout most of "Between Here & Lost", Brian maintains that gruesome, death metal-style falsetto that overpopulated such albums as "Life Is Peachy" and "Issues", and I can easily say without a doubt that his vocal chords have yet to lose their heavy-as-hell luster. Lyrically, this album's themes were described by Brian to include, but are not limited to, "trials, tribulations, pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, and drama". So in other words, Brian is right back to his old self again, and that proves to be one of the real driving forces in this new record.
Overall Impression — 9
The members of Brian's new solo band have some fantastic chemistry flowing between one another, which leads to "Between Here & Lost" becoming one hell of an album. Chemistry so fantastic, that there isn't much for me to nitpick about this new disc. From start to finish, crunching, distortion-filled guitar licks are backed by memorable choruses and raging falsetto, which are all good factors to have in a heavy metal album. To be honest, I was a bit nervous to discover a cover of "Whip It" in the tracklist, but considering how well it pulls off, it's become one of my favorite tracks. Any heavy metal fan, especially fans of Korn, should have no problem rolling down the windows and blasting this new tune on full volume, if not the whole album.