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Open Your Mouth for the Speechless

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Album Review

The full title of this album ends, "In Case of Those Appointed to Die." As a whole, the title makes this sound like it should be the work of yet another of those Canadian post-rock bands spun off from Godspeed You Black Emperor! In an odd sort of way, there's some of that feeling on this album: the songs fade seamlessly into one another, and there are so many dynamic shifts and time signature changeups that it helps to keep an eye on the front of the CD player to know when one ends and the next starts. However, except for a few passages of relative delicacy in linking instrumental tracks like "The Introduction" and "Everything Becomes Still," this is a pulverizing, thrashy metalcore exercise through and through. What's most interesting about the album is the placement of the vocals. Though Robert Meadows' vocal style itself is merely the usual hoarse barking, his vocals are placed so low in the mix that it's not until the fourth track, "Almost Perfect But I Failed," that it's clear that he's singing actual words at all: on much of the album, his vocals sound more like the subhuman cries of a large gorilla. This is neither an insult nor a complaint, incidentally, because the effect adds to the mystery of this ambitious but inscrutable album. [The 2004 reissue of this album, originally released in 2000 in a limited edition, features an improved remix and remastering, all-new artwork, and a trio of bonus tracks, two early demos of songs from this album's follow-up and a more recent live recording.]


Formed: 1999 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Originally formed in 1999, Philadelphia's A Life Once Lost joined a rapidly growing fraternity of metalcore bands (Converge, God Forbid, Killswitch Engage, to name but a few) spread across the U.S. Eastern Seaboard -- over the next few years, these groups helped define the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Featuring vocalist Robert Meadows, guitarists Robert Carpenter and Douglas Sabolick, bassist Nick Frasca, and drummer Justin Graves, their releases include 2000's Open Your Mouth for...
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Open Your Mouth for the Speechless, A Life Once Lost
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