A Life Once Lost A Great Artist

Many predicted greatness for A Life Once Lost after hearing their previous EP, The Fourth Plague: Flies, and while A Great Artist may have evolved beyond the Swedish metal-influenced, tech-metal-derived fury of that EP, and momentarily stun fans with its changes, it is an overwhelming, impressive album. With A Great Artist, ALOL have settled into an intricate, noisy, but utterly controlled, older Meshuggah-style of complexity, unorthodoxy and repetition, while constantly cycling through huge riffs reminiscent of Pantera’s metallic groove and Candiria, especially in the way ALOL dance around time-signature while staying locked into them. Abandoning the faster paces and tempos utilised in the past, ALOL distilled the heaviness and animosity of their previous metallic influences — hardcore, technical thrash, death metal, grind — into a pounding, relentless sound with machine-like precision, slowly battering all into submission, with the drums and riffs locked in double-kick synchronicity constantly bashed out on the china cymbal hits. Progressive metal moments are littered throughout, emerging in the sporadic solos and intricate, jerky, off-time structures, and the near-flawless production, tormented vocals and striking artwork (originally intended for Poison The Well’s latest) enhance the devastation. True, without the variations of past releases, the brutality can briefly cross over to redundancy, and the Meshuggah worship is blatant, but overall, A Great Artist is a great record. (Deathwish Inc.)