The Last Ten Seconds of Life – The Last Ten Seconds of Life


Pennsylvanian deathcore crew, The Last Ten Seconds of Life (TLTSOL), are one of the hardest working bands in the scene. Formed in 2010, they’re now on their sixth LP and first for Unique Leader Records, yet continuous touring and an average album cycle of two years have also taken their toll on the band. Guitarist, Wyatt McLaughlin, is the sole surviving founder member, but the creativity levels are fertile enough for the quartet to take the bold step of self-titling their latest record. Is this the start of a new chapter or more of the same?

Deathcore is in the midst of a revival at the moment thanks to the success of Lorna Shore, Slaughter to Prevail and Shadow of Intent, and TLTSOL should benefit from this resurgence with their own unique take on the sub-genre. Opener, ‘Invictus unto Fire’, is more violent than a Rambo film and heavier than a beach whale, yet its greatest surprise is the way it takes Slipknot and Pantera and feeds it through an extreme metal blender. The guitar tone will remind you of Mortician. Listen to the follow up, ‘Zapffe Isn’t Invited to the Party’. Is this not a drop-tuned version of grindcore? Those of you disappointed by the latest Bound in Fear album probably wanted it to sound like this. The drum engineering is sensational, the breakdowns are vicious, the vocals are harsh and vitriolic.

Many of you lament the presence of nu metal creeping back into the extreme metal scene, and with good reason. TLTSOL cite Korn and Skipknot as two off their biggest influences, yet the former seldom rear their heads except in ‘Birth of the Butcher’ and ‘Hate What You Love’, both of which owe more to Dimebag Darrell’s axemanship than the Bakersfield boys. True, they fall into a formless downtempo trap on the likes of ‘Sickness in Seattle’ and ‘A Lesson on Self-Preservation’, but their willingness to experiment with other genres deserves admiration. You might think you’ve stumbled into a Between the Buried and Me recording session when you hear ‘Vampire (A Blood Ballad)’. The last thing you expect on a deathcore record are the alt-rock vocal harmonies of Pavement shrouded in cello bows, but the transition to a furious assault of double-timing beats and shredding rock guitars are even more of an eye-opener. This song is all over the place, and the better for it. How they insert a lounge act interlude in the middle of this chaos is just as impressive.

Experimentation is the name of the game here the longer the album progresses. ‘Glory Be 2 Misery’ mixes muscular chug riffs with a brief flurry of Santana’s trademark Dorian lead patterns and dares to use clean vocals in the chorus. Check out the Death/Chuck Schuldiner guitarwork preceding the morbid breakdown at the end. Boom, boom, boom!

At a push, you might say this album is too long at fourteen tracks. A couple of downtempo fillers could be removed, but the band present you with a pleasant surprise every time things threaten to stagnate, whether it be the sleazy lead guitar work on ‘Suicide Watch’ or the Alice in Chains meets jazz fusion in the middle eight of ‘Altar of Poison’. One dimensional deathcore this is not.

On the evidence here, TLTSOL are no longer content to be the underdogs. Album number six is a brave attempt to re-energise deathcore with new flavours and new ideas. The end result is an intriguing mix of extreme metal and alternative rock wrapped in the monstrous distortion of seven-string guitars and reverberating bass. It’s up to you to make the choice between fight and flight.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 28/01/2022

Record Label: Unique Leader Records

Standout tracks: Invictus unto Fire, Altar of Poison, Vampire (A Blood Ballad)

Suggested Further Listening: Slaughter to Prevail – Kostolom (2021), Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill (1996), Ten56 – Downer Part. 1 (2021)