REVIEW: LOST SOCIETY – “Braindead”
It is with absolute joy that I reminisce about watching the video of “Kill (Those Who Oppose Me)” with my mouth wide open, completely blown away by the raw intensity of a bunch of kids (and the Detroit Rock City reference). I felt a huge wave of relief enter my mind on discovering a band that could formidably support the church that was built on the foundation that was carved by the thrash greats of the ‘80s (granted, comparing them to veteran bands such as Lich King and Warbringer is akin to comparing a kitty lemonade stand to Walmart,but still).
Lost Society is the brainchild of Samy Elbanna (guitars & vocals) and consists of Arttu Lesonen (guitar), Mirko Lehtinen (Bass) and Ossi Paananen (drums). They have come out with ‘Braindead’ as a follow-up to their last album ‘Terror Hungry’. The album opens with “I Am The Antidote” which is a drastic change from their signature speed metal sound. It has got this eerie ‘South of Heaven’ vibe with haunting guitar harmonies and twin guitar solos, but shines as the highlight of the disc. “Riot” on the other hand has a lot of speed, but in a very nu-metal style. Sammy’s vocal delivery is extremely rap-metal influenced (a way of sugar-coating the term ‘verbal diarrhea’) which did anything but entice me, and save for the solos, this song is an extreme waste of megabytes on a disc and should have been omitted. “Riot” is followed by “Mad Torture”, where the band goes back to their thrash roots for a short spurt of a minute in this track, which then transpires into a mid-paced riff section, again with haunting solos.
“Hollow Eyes” has a very ‘…And Justice For All’ sort of vibe and this is the first song on the album that incorporates the maniacal double bass shred pattern that thrash screams out with all guns blazing. “Rage Me Up” and “Hangover Activator” are again quintessential thrash metal songs, with the former having exceptional bass lines and a tad bit of melody in the middle. “Only (My) Death Is Certain” is a song wherein the band ventures into unexplored territory by using clean guitar sounds. This song has a sound close to Finnish melodic death metal, with its melodic chorus and vocal delivery. The album closes with “P.S.T. 88” which is a mid-paced thrash number and (in my opinion) has a very minute rock ‘n’ roll influence along with melodic death metal.
Samy Elbanna said in an interview that ‘Braindead’ is an album that is more musically diverse and mature than their previous efforts. Being an ardent fan of music for fourteen years and a writer for four, I do not know what in God’s name the term ‘musically mature’ mean – come to think of it, it actually makes no friggin’ sense – but the band does achieve a certain amount of diversity on this album, especially with their lyrics. The songs are way longer than the ones on the previous albums, with some clocking in at 6 and 8 minutes. Having said that, I can categorically and unequivocally state that I prefer the juvenile churlishness of their earlier albums over ‘Braindead’. With the exception of “I Am The Antidote”, there is no song that shimmers in the album, and even the aforementioned track did not turn me on the same way as ‘Fast Loud Death’ or ‘Terror Hungry’ did.
In spite of being barely five years old, Lost Society have toured with the likes of thrash metal behemoths like Slayer, Anthrax and Overkill, and it would be criminal to not call them superstars at this point (can I get a hallelujah!). I opine that bands should broaden their horizons and experiment with their sound, and I applaud Lost Society for taking that risk on this album, but the band did not quite impress me with this particular change in musical inclination. My opinion might change with time and I am going to give the band the benefit of the doubt that the listener expected to hear the same chaos that exuded out of their debut and sophomore albums, which fortunately/ unfortunately did not happen (quite similar to the whole Metallica ‘Black Album’ conspiracy theory). I am not going to go along with the herd and denigrate them by calling them “sell-outs”, but I hope that they put much more thought into their next album as THAT will be one which will be in the radar of critics far and wide.