A Life Once Lost - Iron Gag

11 songs
41:20 minutes
***** ***


The Philadelphia based five-piece A Life Once Lost is back with its fifth CD Iron Gag. The band has already been quite popular in the metal underground, and with the new album, chances are that new fans can be attracted. Iron Gag is a complex and extreme metal album that is hard to be compared to other metal bands.

There are still brutal power metal elements as known from Pantera (Dimebag Darrell guitar chords, Phil Anselmo shouts), but A Life Once Lost’s approach towards metal is more modern. Death metal (Swedish melodies) and metalcore (crushing breakdowns, throat ripping vocals) ingredients give the album an extremely brutal touch, and the band often throttles down speed to get a catchier sound. The quite weird guitar riffs and solos made me often think of Meshuggah and VoiVod.

Another unusual element in ALOL’s music is the Southern rock touch, which makes the opener Firewater Joyride sound like a jam session between Pantera and Alabama Thunder Pussy. The much rawer Detest shows that ALOL are playing brutal metal without making any compromises. The Wanderer is the only disappointment as the evil vocals somehow don’t fit with the mid-tempo pace. The situation improves again with my favourite track All Teeth, a fine demonstration of brutality combined with lots of different riffs and breaks. There’s no more weak moments to come, and I’d like especially to point out the melodic Others Die with the potential to become a radio single.

ALOL’s music works best when the songs are sounding massive and angry, as is the case for nine out of the eleven songs. Iron Gag is an extremely fierce album that has the qualities to push ALOL a big step forward in their career.

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