Living Hell - The Lost and the Damned (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Living Hell

The Lost and the Damned (2007)


I have a friend who, bless his heart, has awful taste in music. There are a handful of bands we agree on but for the most part he enjoys the type of fodder that infests modern rock radio and given his level of intelligence I can't figure out why. His excuse is his lack of a CD player in his car, which is a legit one for when he's driving, but how can he explain the rest of the day? I think most people have a friend like this. I guess some people make the extra effort to go out and discover new bands, while others choose to sit back and have the music brought to them by some evil conglomerate. Anyway, the point that anecdote failed to make is that Living Hell's The Lost and the Damned is the type of album that if I were playing it in my car, he'd ask me "Hey, who is this? Pretty fucking killer." It's a baby step in the right direction, but there's better bands and albums of this ilk that deserve his and our attention.

Living Hell play some pretty typical metallic hardcore, for the most part -- and in their favor -- leaning more on the core than its metallic coating. Craig Mack delivers his vocals in a throaty yell sometimes achingly similar to Jamey Jasta (songs like "Parable of a Madmen" and "Fall From Grace" could easily be mistaken as Hatebreed tunes). The band utilize derivative br00tal breakdowns in nearly every song, but keep them short to the delight of this reviewer. Solos are sprinkled throughout a few of the songs and come off rather well in "Condemned" and "End of Eternity." The closing track, "King of Kings" is followed by five-plus minutes of static noise to end the album, the kind of thing that requires no future listens, and is so annoying it made me completely forget about the actual three minutes of music that preceded it.

Three tracks that garner repeat listens are "Drawn to Chaos," "Mask of Sanity" and the aforementioned "Condemned." None of these tracks eclipse the ninety-second mark, and I suppose that brevity makes for a tighter, more focused sound not found in the album's other nine cuts. The lyrical content is an entirely different matter, though. "Condemned" has some pretty cliché-ridden lyrics that get downright laughable once the breakdown kicks in ("You're not the first... / To try and test me. / You won't be the last... / So take your shot."). Yeah, bro.

There'll be some people in the scene who are totally stoked on this record, and I understand why. But for those on the outside looking in, The Lost and the Damned won't get their feet to stay inside the door.