A Life Once Lost – The Fourth Plague: Flies EP

A Life Once Lost
The Fourth Plague: Flies EP

Wow. A Life Once Lost put the HARD in hardcore. Combining elements of metal, grindcore, chaotic noise, and melodic hardcore, Philadelphia’s A Life Once Lost are perhaps the tightest band in its odd and noisy genre while still maintaining the intensity and edgy that bands of their ilk are known for.
This album is all about the guitar riffs. The guitars here are stellar, ranging from melodic hardcore to power riffs, chugging away one moment and shining with pristine melodicism the next, while never slowing down a lick. The vocals are indecipherable screams about death and disruption, with such wonderful lines like “This time was the only time he was able to cover her mouth as he ripped apart her chest with his nails” (“Our Second Home”) and “Let me rip the throat out of your still warm body” (“Prepare Yourself For What is About to Come”). No, this is not for the faint of heart.
Run through the EP quickly before it’s over. Blistering yet pristine guitar riffs form the basis of the opener and best track, “Chileab,” whose lyrics – if you could understand them – read like a downhearted message to a former lover. The melodic breakdowns are brief but help build the intensity. The vocals are over the top on “Our Second Home,” sounding like gruff, brutal throat scraping one moment and high-pitched scrawls the next, over metal-core riffs. Even faster and more chaotic, “The Dead Sea” would be brutal if not for the sludgy percussion that takes over halfway through. “Prepare Yourself For What is About to Come” is a blast of frenzied noise based around a purely metal foundation a la Isis, while the closer, “The Tide,” is a bit more restrained but more chugging and sludgy, but suddenly there’s this gorgeous breakdown of lovely guitar and urgent drumming. Holy crap I love that touch. If they did that more often, I could take a full album of this!
I couldn’t take much more than the brief 13 minute length of this five-song EP, but packaged as it is (with excellent artwork courtesy of Isis’ Aaron Turner), it’s a gulp of sludge and doom that makes you want to bust heads in the pits. And that’s what this band is all about. There’s no mincing words here. This is heavy, power-crazy, frantic stuff with the theme of doom and depression and anger. And as heavy as it is, it’s tight and strong. Wild.