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Life Without Hope... Death Without Reason (2004)

Life Without Hope... Death Without Reason is the first demo release from the American band Loss. They play a style of funeral doom that shows strong influences from Worship and Mournful Congregation. Originally released in 2004, this demo came with a razor included in the package.

"Coffin Nails (Intromancy)" begins the demo with random feedback, screeching and a few stray bass chords. Perhaps the band was attempting to set the tone for the songs to follow, but it is rather pointless and adds nothing to the release.

The first real track is "Conceptual Funeralism Unto the Final Act (of Being)". It begins with a very mournful riff that takes the best parts of the bands that influenced them and creates something dreary and depressive. In a way, the style of riffs is more reminiscent of early My Dying Bride, as the sound is a little more dynamic than bands like Thergothon or Skepticism. The overall quality is fairly good, considering that it is a demo. It's clear enough for each riff to stand out and really have the desired impact, yet it still retains somewhat of a rough vibe. The vocals are the only real weak point. The style is that of a very deep and guttural whisper, similar in a way to old Incantation yet not as distinct. The band would have benefited from a vocalist with more range and ability to convey emotion through the vocals. Despite this, the song is very good for what it is. Later on, there's a riff that has an almost uplifting feeling and utilization of the typical doom metal drum fills. This is followed by a more sombre guitar melody that reaches into your chest and begins to crush your heart. The feeling is very epic and one can tell that the musicians have a very good understanding of what they were setting out to accomplish. Even the lyrics fit well with the music, though the actual delivery being the main setback. However, this is actually something that is common to the sub-genre.

The second, and final, song on the demo is "Cut Up, Depressed and Alone". From the very first note, you realize just why this release originally came with a fresh razor blade. The miserable guitar riffs wrap around you and begin to squeeze the life right out of you. Somehow, these melodies call forth every sorrowful moment that you have ever experienced, and it all washes over you at once. Even without the lyrics and the sub-par vocals, the music itself speaks to the listener on a deep level. You can feel the hopelessness and utter emptiness. After a few minutes, things become very silent and only a clean guitar remains, playing a very simple yet effective melody. Without realizing it, you may find that you've taken the razor and opened up your flesh. This transitions to another epic and depressing riff, as the blood escapes your veins.

The only real fault here lies in the execution of the vocals, but many other funeral doom bands are guilty of this as well, so there's no need to point a finger at this band, alone. Musically, the songs are very well constructed and dynamic enough to hold your interest while still being slow and lifeless enough to convey the feelings of despair and misery. Life Without Hope... Death Without Reason is a solid demo that is, unfortunately, the best work this band ever came up with. None of their subsequent releases have managed to live up to the potential shown here.
(31 March 2010)

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