CD Review

Law – “Our Life Through Your Death”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Our Life Through Your DeathA glance at the title alone should conjure up images parallel to Last House on the Left or Make Them Die Slowly, a pair of over-the-top horror movies whose legendary brutality imprinted boundary-pushing nihilism on our once-innocent minds in ways that likely won’t ever leave us. If one has not thought of either of these movies or any type of snuff flick, he or she will have by the time Law’s Our Life Through Your Death has been in the CD player but ten minutes. The inner sleeve of the jacket boldly proclaims “I Was Chosen to Be Your Death.” A disturbing proclamation, if pretentious, this phrase will nonetheless haunt the listener through these nine nightmarish coldwave tracks. As the cover of a menacing Ruger pointed towards the listener implies, Our Life Through Your Death holds one at gunpoint to suffer the tortures project creator Mitchell Altum (with supplemental kudos to Marissa Lafferty) has in store.

Vision Flashes to Red has a spooky, shrill synth amidst a trembling bass vibration and garbled trashiness that would sound perfect for an underground death cult movie. Forged Motion’s knocking tones are floundered with apocalyptic explosions that collectively increase in speed, going so far as to produce a war-like rat-a-tat sensation with the synth strikes. Artistic in one sense, depraved in another. Abrasion is cold, hollow, ethereal, cryptic, take your pick of adjectives. Probably best served in a Resident Evil game, the eerie synth scrapes puncture the ears callously for needless minutes, but that seems to be Altum’s motif. He is in obvious pain and wishes to share it with his audience. As they say, misery loves company.

As the title suggests, Your Body is Immobilized produces a paralyzing sensation with its senses-dulling lead tones that resemble a death march. Unseen Existence is serene at first, cataclysmic as the track progresses. A fake ending around the two minute mark gets ripped by shrill cacophony that wastes the sensibility first established. Unseen Existence becomes an eight-minute terror-ride that is superceded by its successor, Scars of Isolation, a thoroughly satanic track that flogs and flagellates with hateful intensity even with a brief moment of cred from splices of cohesive synths.

The project’s worthiest moment is Betrayal of the Flesh, which features actual percussion moments and acoustic guitars that briefly sound like a fucking song, shudder to think. Even the electric guitar that shreds the track conveys Altum’s emotions better than the ridiculous, garbled funeral songs preceding it; his obvious anger is more heartfelt because of the instrument’s tangibility, even if he gets far too carried away by punishing the listener with prolonged high notes, concluding with an abysmal tonal destruction.

100 Degrees has a digital beat amplitude and speed experimentalism that is interesting at first but ultimately tedious, particularly with the boring miasmic effects that have likewise become tedious. We get the point, dude. You’re pissed off, we feel your pain. Still, Altum feels the need to drive home his point on the final track, It is Beyond Us Now. The morose emptiness of this track does show appreciative synth tones, yet still conveys gloom with brain-pounding stimuli, further stymied by a nearly indecipherable, tweaked narration which relays a message of madness and despair the listener really doesn’t need. If the message hasn’t been abundantly clear by now, one should seriously consider shock therapy.

With “special thanks and appreciation to – absolutely no one,” it is evident that Mitchell Altum is a lone wolf in a genre cluttered with a multitude of similar wolves expressing their howling frustrations by taking it out on their audiences. As if the title Our Life Through Your Death isn’t disturbing enough, as if the material itself isn’t disturbing enough, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Law’s project is the fact that Altum cites the Ruger on the cover “is the pistol my younger brother used to commit suicide.” With the manifesto “I Was Chosen to Be Your Death,” there appears a hazy line in Altum’s mindset. What is the anger he is trying to display? Is this project an expression of grief over the loss of a loved one or is there something far deeper to his troubled psyche? In either case, Our Life Through Your Death is vengeful madness. If the advertising for Last House on the Left told viewers to keep telling themselves, “It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie,” perhaps that should be kept in mind while listening to Law’s dreadful death dirge. Let’s hope it’s only a CD, it’s only a CD, it’s only a CD…

Contact Information:
Post: P.O. Box 6254, South Bend, IN, 46660, USA