Love and Death has released their first album in eight years, Perfectly Preserved. Lead vocalist, Brian “Head” Welch (also the guitarist of Korn), has been one of the most influential voices of modern-day metal with a signature sound. The album features guest appearances from ex-Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm, Breaking Benjamin guitarist/backing vocalist Keith Wallen, and Righteous Vendetta front man Ryan Hayes; and shows promise in the further arise of modern metal, with a new-and-improved sound.
Starting off the album, “Infamy,” the track introduces its audience with an emotional string and piano into before vocalist, JR Bareis offers clean, crisp vocals into the soundscape. Welch’s unclean vocals echo in the background as the duo sing the lyrics, “perfectly preserved,” fitting the album’s title like the beginning of a movie as it plays the title screen. Blending in, the next track “Tragedy” follows smoothly with an addition of electric guitar (Welch and Bareis), bass, (Michael Valentine), and a punching drum beat (Dan Johnson). We then hear Welch’s trademark vocals. The track contains a simple couple of verses, chorus, and features a heavy bridge and outro, but within it lies all the emotions that come with experiencing tragedy and trauma.
Since the release of “Down,” the band’s first single in eight years, the track has over 1.2 million global streams and has hit the charts. is the gravelled clean vocals, and raw screams loosing from their cage throughout the song. The track is unhinged and just what metalheads and hard rock addicts have been yearning for during the lull in rock and metal over the last decade, being the emotionally-ridden, catharsis inducing, and radio worthy track it is. Next, a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Let Me Love You,” makes any listener giggle upon first hearing it. Not only was it an unexpected listen, but it scratched the itch of “punk goes pop” in a way that we didn’t know we needed. Featuring vocals from Lacey Sturm, we have the privilege of hearing not only her angelic clean vocals, but her gut-punching unclean vocals that made her famous in the metal world as the first female of all time to top the metal charts in her debut album, Life Screams. The track sequels their cover of Devo’s “Whip It,” featured on their debut album.
Changing the tone, “Death of Us,” ensures an urgency in lyrics, “running on borrowed time,” and with its quickened tempo in each verse. Each verse is incredibly catchy with its simple themes that are sure to be easy to sing along with the band when they play live. Next, “Slow Fire,” slows things again in the intro before breaking down into a heavy metal guitar intro. As it wrestles against itself, it discusses the battle against addiction and relapse; which slowly burns out the light of life in the afflicted party. As Welch has discussed in interviews, he has battled and won against an addiction. The story is incredibly inspirational and empowering.
Featuring Breaking Benjamin’s Keith Wallen in vocals and guitar, “The Hunter,” is introduced with a clean first verse before easing its audience into a heavier pre-chorus, and melodic chorus, roping us in with the hook, “Make your escape.” And the song follows with the heavy second verse we’ve been craving to hear from Welch since his “Ball Tongue” era in Korn. The vocalist shows his capability and diversity in sound in this sense by effortlessly switching between clean and unclean vocals throughout the track, while conveying the message that our society faces today; the world we know is facing pain and normalizing addiction as a whole as many don’t know how to properly cope with their pain and trauma. Next, “Lo Lamento” creates a We As Human vibe in the track with gritty lyrics in each verse and whirring guitar. The track contains an apologetic tone in the lyrics and melody and Welch continues to share parts of his story. Following, “Affliction” offers the album’s heaviest vocals to date, soothing the ache to hear more unclean vocals from Welch as a whole. Making for one of the more diverse tracks in sound, the grip the being with a conviction for healing against the affliction of addiction.
Concluding the album, and featuring guest vocals from Ryan Hayes, “White Flag” is a surrender to the process of growth and change. When fear grips the soul it does anything it can to feed on that feeling until the impacted party is left feeling nothing but numb. The track breaks these feelings down and lifts up the white flag as it admits to its own brokenness.
Overall, Perfectly Preserved is what we’ve been craving to hear over the last eight years from Welch. The album is available on all streaming platforms. Stream it now!