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Life Or Death Sentenced

Life Or Death - Sentenced
1. Ultimo Aviso MP3
2. Bring It Back
3. Day of the Rope
4. Take A Note
5. Sentenced
6. Pride
7. We All Bleed Red
2004 1917 Records

Reviewed by: Cory   //   Published: 11/30/2004

Life or Death's eight-song debut, Sentenced, is one of the heaviest hardcore records I've heard in a long time. This Fallbrook, California quintet seems to have taken more inspiration from Connecticut heavyweights like 100 Demons or Hatebreed than any of their West Coast predecessors, and they possess enough lyrical intelligence, musical ability and flair to build a strong record upon this brutal foundation. Even after you take into consideration the ten minutes of answering machine messages (and amusing School of Rock quote) after the album's end, there is still twenty-nine minutes of bone-crunching hardcore tough enough to satisfy the biggest tough-guy, but deep enough to deliver a message.

Perhaps it says something about the state of hardcore that I was shocked to find Life or Death's lyrics actually said something of substance about social issues. Perhaps it's just that these guys care about more than people seeing them pose and actually want to use their music to say something. Either way, this records' lyrics really add to its value. "Day of the Rope" is an adaptation of "Strange Fruit," an incredibly powerful song first performed by Billie Holiday. While it was a bit odd that it wasn't credited as such, it was a breath of fresh air to see a hardcore band proving the continuing relevance of a jazz song that could realistically predate their grandparents. Songs like "Bring It Back" and "Pride" actually make strong points and logical arguments, a welcome change from the all-too-common empty accusations of various hardcore bands.

The music on this record generally sticks to the tried and true beatdown formula of mid-tempo hardcore, frequent breakdowns and occassional Slayer-esque riffs, but Life or Death mixes it up with enough clever drum fills and death metal squeals to establish their own take on the sound. Granted, it's not a particularly inventive style, but the fact that these guys have put real issues and opinions out there for people to chew on is truly unique these days. My only real gripe was that it took me a while to really get into the vocals, but it wasn't necessarily a hard obstacle to overcome.

Bottom Line: It used to be that hardcore bands would speak their minds and write songs that presented their convictions. Whether listeners agreed or disagreed, there was a certain level of respect for those individuals who used the stage as more than a means of self-advancement. Life or Death's idea of hardcore embraces these seemingly forgotten ideals and combines them with music as heavy as its lyrical subject matter.

Drew fuckin King_   posted 12/20/2004 3:33:25 PM
yeah bitches. this shits hard u know it.
Matt Guerrero_   posted 12/19/2004 4:57:47 AM
your cool
Hxcobd_   posted 12/16/2004 4:03:36 AM
Definitely one of the better hardcore CDs out this year.
Cory_   posted 12/2/2004 5:37:43 PM
this record is killer. oh wait...i already said that.
palmerLCC_   posted 12/2/2004 5:20:22 PM
this is almost a little to much it still crushes but the predictability factor sets in alot 6/10

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