Music is therapy both for the artist as well as for the listener, and that is an undeniable fact of life. There have been countless musicians who have channeled all their anger, pain, depression, and frustration into their music, and countless fans who found comfort and solace in those lyrics or the aggressiveness of that music. We see this scenario unfolding once more, this time with Finnish modern metal outfit LOST SOCIETY, whose newest album, “If the Sky Came Down,” is pretty much a sonic diary of frontman Samy Elbanna’s life experience during the last couple of years. The album is set for release on September 30th, 2022, via Nuclear Blast Records.
This is a very intense, real, and raw (at times even visceral) album to listen to both from a musical standpoint, as well as a lyrical standpoint. It starts out with the high energy songs like the singles “112,” “What Have I Done,” and “Stitches,” with their singalong choruses, angsty lyrics, and up-tempo rhythms, only to transition to some deep cuts in the second part, where emotions are more tangible and less buried under layers of aggression. Tracks like “Awake” or “Creature” cut deep with honest lyrics and vulnerable vocal deliveries. Frontman Samy Elbanna really captured the spirit of this album and what it stands for when he stated, “I think it’s beautiful the way that music enables you to create something very beautiful out of something that has come from something so traumatic,” during our recent interview with him. If you, as a listener, get to understand where this album came from and what was the catalyst for this music and these lyrics, it is borderline impossible not to connect with it on some emotional level. Or, at the very least, appreciate the sincerity and candor displayed here.
As the singles have already showcased, music-wise this album is at the crossroad of metalcore and nu metal (in the vein of early LINKIN PAK) but there are also elements of hard rock, EDM, and groove metal to be found on certain songs that really expand the soundscape. For example, “(We Are The) Braindead” starts off on electronic sounds before exploding into a maelstrom of low vocals à la Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT) in parts of the verses, screams and cleans à la Chester Bennington during the hooky chorus, and up-tempo melodies topped off by a frenetic guitar melody and a fiery solo. “Stitches” follows suit but in a less tumultuous manner, as if the same amount of instrumental madness and vocal onslaught is more focused and redirected into channeling some primal screaming to get the message across.
After these chaotic numbers, the calmness and serenity of the first seconds of “Awake” are almost jarring, as it starts on strings and vocals and continues in the same way with some heaviness coming mainly from the chugging guitars and pounding drums, but with beautiful backing orchestrations that make the track feel very balanced overall. This is also the turning point of the record, since “Awake” lifts the mood and opens up the soundscape. Even lyrically, it leaves the dark hole of the previous tracks behind with a line in the chorus stating that, “I may be powerless / But I am finally awake,” which is in itself a very powerful statement. “Underneath” brings back the heaviness of the opening tracks with barreling drums, screamed vocals, and electronic elements, only to warn about the seductive yet destructive nature of drugs.
The versatility and prowess of Samy Elbanna’s vocal delivery is the cornerstone of this album and the fact that he didn’t go for a one-size-fits-all approach warrants more than just a pat on the back. Tracks like “Creature” with its dual soundscape that sways between compelling vocals and a driving rhythm, “Hurt Me” which features a powerful bass line and a blanket of electronic overlays, or the anthemic title track prove that he can do so much more than just screams and harsh vocals. But nowhere on the album does he shine brighter than on closing track, the touching and poignant “Suffocating.” Here all his vulnerability, pain, and anguish are on full display as he delivers the verses with just piano to back him up. Some of the screams in this one are heartbreaking to hear… it’s a really intense vocal performance and one of the best I’ve heard this year because the emotions that drive the experience are so real and palpable.
Unfolding just like a story, “If the Sky Came Down” is an album about overcoming dark times and the music takes listeners on that rollercoaster ride. Sometimes it’s super energetic, heavy, and hard, while other times it shows a great dose of vulnerability, and other times it’s downright painful since the band is not afraid to show such a wide range of emotions. Now, with all that being said, if you expect this to sound anything like their thrashy first couple of albums, you will most likely be disappointed. On the other hand, if you accept the fact that the band has evolved and experimented with their sound on “If the Sky Came Down,” chances are you’ll end up liking what you hear. It’s all a matter of perception and having an open mind.
Written by Andrea Crow
- What Have I Done
- (We Are The) Braindead
- Hurt Me
- If The Sky Came Down
- Samy Elbanna – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitars
- Arttu Lesonen – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
- Mirko Lehtinen – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Taz Fagerström – drums
Nuclear Blast Records