Young And In The Way
When Life Comes To Death
27th May 2014 – Deathwish Inc.
01. Betrayed By Light
02. Fuck This Life
03. Be My Blood
04. Self Inflicted
05. Loved And Unwanted
06. We Are Nothing
07. Final Dose
08. Weep In My Dust
09. Take My Hand
10. Shadow Of Murder
11. Embrace Extinction
Blackened hardcore, in all its darkened and crusty goodness, has become increasingly abundant over the past few years. With countless bands saturating the scene and churning out that signature mix of speed, aggression and grit, it sometimes proves difficult to keep up and distinguish all these bands from each other. Luckily for Charlotte, North Carolina’s Young And In The Way, who play a blend of black metal with elements of crust punk and hardcore, they’ve made a name for themselves in the scene, yet still maintain a sort of cult status that only serves to magnify the bands persona. With a couple of EPs and full-lengths under their belt, the band have remained consistent with their sound, and with the release of their newest album When Life Comes to Death, Young And In The Way look to continue that momentum, with what may be their most punishing album to date.
Right out of the gate, the album wastes little time warming the listener up; vocalist Kable Lyall opens with the line “When life comes to death”, and as his visceral approach to vocals not only incite despair, but as the rest of the band comes in, the song launches into a frantic flurry. The guitar is raw, with riffs that feel cold, and the pounding drum and crashing cymbal hits only intensify the surrounding chaos that is “Betrayed By Light”. Even amongst the crushing tone of the song, there are elements of melody from the guitar that add a resonating chill, which is all the more heightened throughout the outro; lone piano keys are struck, mimicking the guitar chords that came before it, bringing the song to a mournful close.
The opening track does well to set up the tone and pace of When Life Comes To Death as a whole; the album delivers one blistering track after the other. Heavy hitters such as “Fuck This Life”, “Be My Blood”, and “Self Inflicted” provide enough speed and ferocity that it’s hard to catch your breath as one song ends and the next begins. It’s only when the ending of “Self Inflicted” comes in that the album takes a step back and provides an eerie segue into “Loved and Unwanted”, which is more low-tempo in tone and speed, but hits just as hard.
Coming into the second-half of the album, the songs increase in both speed and heaviness: “We Are Nothing” is an overwhelmingly heavy track – due especially to the jack-hammering assault of the guitar/drum combo – while “Final Dose” and “Weep In My Dust” fire on all cylinders, unleashing a wave of razor sharp riffs and sporadic drumming that highlight the more black metal aspects of their sound.
But it seems Young And In The Way saved the best for (almost) last: “Take My Hand” and “Shadow of Murder”, although two separate tracks, bleed into one another so smoothly that they might as well be one. The first of the two is a low-tempo trudge, complete with a menacing riff and drum pattern that demands cranial agitation, and it easily has the catchiest chorus of the entire album. As this track ends it slowly transitions into the somber and ethereal sound-scape that is “Shadow of Murder” which, with its emphasis on violins and acoustic guitar, is the stand out track; not only because of its pace, but also its ability to strike at the core of the listener. The soothing melody of the acoustic guitar and violins are juxtaposed against the harshness of the vocals, which echo out over wailing chord work of the electric guitar, creating a melancholic and moving piece that keeps the listener enthralled, and is a strong candidate for repeat listens.
This album doesn’t end on a downer though - “Embrace Extinction” makes sure of that. This epic nine minute and forty-five second track is the perfect closer for this scathing album. Destructive from the moment the instruments come in, “Embrace Extinction” is steeped in an ominous and bleak downward spiral that just gets deeper and darker as it draws to its inevitable close, eventually leaving the listener to wallow in an ambiance of resonating feedback and the slow fading drone of dread.
When all is said and done, When Life Comes to Death is an album worth listening to all the way through. With well-rounded production adding more weight to the album’s emotional pull, the intensity of the band is truly captured here. Shifts in mood and tone provide the listener with surprises and help keep it from feeling stale and predictable – which over the course of eleven tracks is a worthy feat. Young And In The Way may have well just released their opus, which of course is up for debate – but nevertheless, this album crushes.