Love and Death
Saturday 13 February 2021
It is Love And Death fever at the moment, and we’re loving it. If you’re infected with the sickness, you may have tuned into their global livestream over the weekend, and if not we’ve got you covered. For a quick recap, the band released Perfectly Preserved on Friday, we got to chat to KoRn‘s Brian ‘Head’ Welch about the album, and we also gave our analysis on single ‘Down’ and ‘White Flag’.
The stream commences with flickering of Brian ‘Head’ Welch messing around with the band, and cutting to him on his patio and in his car before the 2 minute countdown kicks in with ‘Infamy’ playing over the top, the opening track to Perfectly Preserved.
The band enter a dark stage, Head wearing a shiny jacket and leaning into the mic to demonstrate his clean vocal effort from the get-go. It’s great to see Breaking Benjamin bassist Jasen Rauch getting some of the spotlight too, as he’s had a huge influence on this record. Guitarist and back-up vocalist JS Bareis does a stellar job on ‘Tragedy’ and when Head gets filthy on the mic, the screen is filled with flying dreadlocks and strobes, and it’s all pretty damn metal if you ask me.
The band jumped straight into ‘Meltdown’ – a track from their 2013 record Between Love And Lost. The livestream feels really raw with this one, as Head falls into the muscle memory of the band’s earlier material where he was doing predominantly unclean vocals. The sequins on his jacket continue to glisten as the band bash their instruments, creating simultaneous sonic chaos and beauty. Bareis has such a lovely clean-vocal style and it strikes again before the track explodes once more.
‘Lo Lamento’ is next up on your couch concert, a track sitting on the back-end of the band’s 2021 release. Head leans into the mic again with his coloured hand gripping it tight, spilling out his artistry into the world; it’s really something. The song is a metal duet in a way, as Head and Bareis interchange their vocal duties. You can also tell that Rauch is having a really fun time – it reminds you that these guys haven’t played live shows in forever, and it’s their way of living that part of their musicianship.
Brace yourself, Love And Death perform ‘Down’, the track that brought them back to life late last year after a lengthy hiatus. The opening riff is highly KoRn-esque and will get your heart beating in your living room. Head is superb on clean vocals and has really rocked the vocal effort once again. The pink-haired Rauch is centric on this track musically, and the camera faces him extensively to showcase his effortless strumming and excited energy. The live video stream is imperfect at times, which actually works well because it feels like a raw and authentically live show, without all the clean edits.
Next on the setlist is ‘Death Of Us’, another deep-cut from Perfectly Preserved which is awesome to hear, given we’ve binged on the singles released prior to the record’s release. The teasing riffs couple with Bareis introducing a few vocal notes before Head jumps in. The song is delivered with a real Breaking Benjamin influenced recipe, and Head really adopts a Benjamin Burnley style chorus delivery, which is actually pretty cool to hear. Head doesn’t fall out of focus for a second and stares into the abyss of focus as he delivers the tones of the track to perfection, a song that sounds great both live and on the album. But then the song falls into a filthy breakdown and Head adapts fast into his alter-ego of the nu-metal-head we know and love, obviously really cool to see.
Love And Death bounce back to their previous record with the melodic song ‘By The Way’, one of my personal favourites from their back catalogue. It’s incredibly catchy, the band absolutely nails it on the livestream, and you can tell they’re loving every second of playing as brothers together. The crescendo of the chorus is absolutely delightful and will take you in like a warm hug, a really cohesive track for the band.
The band stick with the older chapter of the stream, and jump into the opening track for Between Love And Lost with ‘The Abandoning’, and you get to see a few more glimpses of drummer Isaiah Perez who is simply unfazed by the alternation of pace, era and all elements. Keith Wallen is on stage with the band throughout the performance, and for those playing at home, he features on ‘The Hunter’, which we’ll undoubtedly hear soon. Wallen joins Bareis for similar dual clean vocals as Head drives the track forward with his more rustic sound.
Turns out I could feel Wallen’s presence in my loins, because ‘The Hunter’ was next up on the setlist. This song is absolutely incredible to watch live and with the volume up. Wallen has a lovely voice and is far more front and centre for this track, as compared to his supporting role on the livestream with the prior songs. For Aussies who’ve never seen Breaking Benjamin live, will really enjoy moments like this, it might be the closest we’ll ever get to seeing the band live. Through a blue haze of dreadlocks and beards, the Love And Death energy is palpable. Head is so warmed up it’s unbelievable, as he rocks the breakdown out of the park, and unleashes his KoRn roots in full form.
Perfectly Preserved returns to the table as the band burst into ‘Slow Fire’ with heavy riffs and pounding drums. The track is yet another fusion of Head’s multifaceted vocal delivery, which keeps you incredibly engaged throughout. The band’s energy retains as the set continues, which simply adds to the excitement.
Another highlight of the stream is when the band play their ‘Let Me Love You’ cover of DJ Snake and Justin Bieber. Whilst Bareis takes care of Bieber’s parts incredibly, it’s the guest appearance of ex-Flyleaf vocalist Lacey Sturm which is a refreshing component to the band’s live delivery. Sturm is so energised and leans straight into the band’s heavy metal persona. The cover is really special on the record, but even more phenomenal in a raw and live environment, you can tell the band had a lot of fun with this one. Head grabs the mic out of the stand and faces Sturm and they both lose themselves in musical expression, it’s pretty beautiful to watch.
The band manage to keep the covers going and dip into another one of my favourite songs of theirs. ‘Whip It’ is so unique that many don’t even realise it’s a cover until they hear the original. Head’s voice reverberates in the live studio, and he knocks it out the park. Rauch can’t wipe the smile off his face as the band know they’re absolutely killing this cover. Head’s tattooed eyelids seem to darken as the song breaks into blistering chaos towards the end, superb metal imagery.
‘Paralyzed’ was a hit single off Love And Death’s previous record, and they weren’t going to neglect the world from hearing it on this livestream. Rauch steps forward and really embraces elements of this number as Head leans into another track that he wouldn’t have performed live in several years. The song breaks down in iconic Head fashion, with his dreadies raining across the stage, and obliterating your viewing pleasure.
Finally, it’s time. Time to hear the song that turned Browny into a Love And Death fan. The man is now converted and is sweating the band big time. ‘White Flag’ echoes on the livestream as the band hit their reserves of energy. Head alternates between his chaotic screaming with measured clean vocals. This song is bass-heavy and has that sense of epic-ness associated with the way the bass leads you into melodic mayhem.
Out of nowhere Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins appears on stage to perform the nu-metal rap-section of the track that’s sung by Ryan Hayes on the record. Mullins is feeding into it all and screams with Head briefly, facing and hugging him, before exiting the stage rapidly.
The stream ended suddenly, but left you feeling fucking electric. This livestream will do wonders for the band’s new album Perfectly Preserved and will leave you praying the band continue to write new music as the years go on.
If there’s anything I can liken seeing Love And Death play a livestream together, it’s like seeing the boys from Killswitch Engage playing Times of Grace songs – it’s special, it feels rare, and it’s unique to be a part of it.
Review by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Perfectly Preserved is out now. Grab a copy of here