Sometimes you just need to listen to something so crushingly heavy and abusive that it’s like Batman giving your ears a good comic-sized thwacking. It’s lucky, then, that there are bands out there to satisfy those cravings.
Pennsylvania’s The Last Ten Seconds Of Life are one of the best of the new breed of brutalists. With a sound that is occasionally redolent of Upon A Burning Body, but with vocals from the snarling King 810 handbook, these guys are no strangers to aggression.
“People always say music is a release,” says guitarist Wyatt McLaughlin. “But when I write songs, I’m so angry that I’m calm outside of it. I get it all out in the music. It’s a place I can put things – they’re memories I can reflect on later.”/o:p
And looking at the lyrics on TLTSOL’s new album Soulless Hymns, there’s a lot of these memories Wyatt needs to get out. Topics range from religion to hard sex, as on standout track Pain Is Pleasure.
“It’s just overtly sexual… it’s what I enjoy,” he says, matter-of-factly. “When you put out a craft, especially music, you’ve got to be comfortable with what you put out. With music, the more real you are, the more honest you are, the stronger the bond you have with people.”
That connection is vital in a scene that increasingly lacks distinctive voices – but ultimately, it’s all about the live shows, which Wyatt claims are uniformly intense events. “There’s an air when you play this sort of music that people want to get out of control,” he notes. And during Soulless Hymns there are some genuine moments of shit-yourself heaviness that will make you want to punch the sun, and none more so than album closer Dream Is Dead.
“It’s a transformation track that has elements of our old stuff but is a huge step forward musically,” Wyatt muses. “When we were writing it we were thinking about how people aren’t buying albums and people aren’t getting enough credit for their work – the dream is dead. You can make music and be successful but it’s a different level now. To really take that next step you need the building blocks.”
With a pointedly DIY background (from managing their own merch to booking their own tours), TLTSOL’s fans have seen the band use those building blocks to construct something with huge potential.
“Our hometown is in the middle of nowhere,” Wyatt states. “We’re four hours from Philly, so we had to tour. And after playing so much you get to meet and really connect with people.”
It’s only a matter of time, then, before this band cross the pond and spread their destruction here, too.
SOULLESS HYMNS IS OUT NOW VIA WORKHORSE MUSIC/DENSITY/o:p